Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

December 13, 2013

Defense is also a weapon for Spartans

PEARISBURG, Va. — Giles is known for its single wing offense.

It’s defense isn’t bad either, it just doesn’t have a catchy name.

“We don't really do fancy stuff,” Giles junior linebacker Jenson Doffin said. “We just put on the pads and go play football.”

They do it well, on both side of the ball.

“People don't look at offense like they do defense, but defense wins championships in my mind,” Giles junior tailback and defensive back John Teats said. “You've got to have a good defense to get this far.”

Not a problem for the Spartans, who has been stingy, allowing just 12.9 points per game over the last 10 contests of the season.

“I love it, I play beside Hunter Smith and we just have a blast together,” Doffin said, “I love it, it is just great. Coach (Jeff) Williams says just read guards and play football.”

Giles will have to do it one more time when the Spartans (14-0) play Brunswick (12-2) for the 2A state championship on Saturday at Salem Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 4:30 p.m.

“It is great,” Teats said. “I have never been in something like this before, everybody is just excited around Giles County, we are excited.”

“It is really a great experience. I am really excited, we haven't been this far since 2006, it is great to be part of this,” added Doffin. “The community loves it. We have a lot of people coming to the game, tons of people, we have people decorating our school. It is just great for our town.”

After allowing 111 total points — including 37, 24 and 42 — in their first four games this season, the Spartans have surrendered just 129 over the last 10 games, allowing 14 or fewer points in eight of those contests.

No wonder Giles is not only playing for a state championship, but could finish with a perfect 15-0 record.

“I wouldn't say we are surprised (to be here), that was our goal,” Doffin said. “At the beginning of the season we weren't hoping to be 14-0. We were just coming out here and doing the best we could.

“Of course you wanted to be here, but I don't know if we expected it.”

While Giles has been to the state finals five times in the past, winning three of them, Brunswick is making its first appearance on Saturday, having established itself with six state basketball titles.

“That is the main goal for everybody,” said Teats, whose Spartans practiced Thursday at Princeton’s Hunnicutt Stadium. “Nobody was really expecting this, but we just came together as a team through the season and everything has come out good for us.

“We have a great tradition around here and we want to keep it going. I love it here. If anybody came here they wouldn't want to be anywhere else.”

The Bulldogs run a pro-style, spread-type of offense that has scored 35 or more points 10 times this season. They will be fast, but so will the Spartans.

“They are going to be good,” Doffin said. “Just being in the state championship you are always going to have to be good. They will be the fastest team we have played this year. In our secondary we have a couple of kids that run a 4.5 40 so we do have a fast team.”

Keep Brunswick to 14 or less and Doffin feels good about Giles’ chances to bring home a fourth state championship in football.

“Defensively, we have to try not to give up hopefully over two scores,” Doffin said. “You can't help but give up a score, and offensively, hopefully our offense will pans out well and does the best they can.

“We know what we are doing,” he added, about the offense. “If you can stop it you can try it, but they haven't stopped it this year.”

The single wing offense of the Spartans is led by a strong, physical offensive line that simply tries to out-work the other team.

The defense ... is much the same.

“We just go out there and hit people,” Teats said.

While the Spartans will wear red on Saturday, only a select few don’t wear white during practice in Pearisburg. Teats was wearing the only blue jersey with ‘HIT’ on the front on Wednesday.

“They signify where you have had a good defensive game,” said the 5-foot-8, 158-pound Teats, who runs the 400 meters for the Giles track team. “It is for biggest hits, just the biggest game you have in your life, stuff like that. I have had it for four weeks now.”

There is a reason.

“John is really a great player for us in the secondary, he is kind of our leader back there,” Williams said. “He is like our quarterback back there for us, he sees things and figures out things and gets people lined up right.

“He is very heads up, he is a really great tackler, one of the best tacklers on our team.”

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Doffin was wearing a red practice jersey, also with ‘HIT’ across the chest to signify similar big plays for the Spartans.

“Jenson started for us last year, he is just a solid player for us too,” Doffin said. “He just gets better as the game goes on, he is just a good solid player for us. All those kids are strong and are just good solid players for us,”

They will also be back for another season. Several contributors to this year’s squad will be back, meaning Giles football will be a factor again 2014.

Of course, next year can wait.

“It is going to mean the world to me to win this,” Teats said. “I have never felt like this before and if we do win, we will enjoy it, and we will just be hungry again for next year.”

“We are a really young team,” added Doffin. “Hopefully we win this game, but next year should be a very good season again.”

Giles won’t travel to Salem alone. Expect much of Giles County to make the short trip up I-81 to cheer on their Spartans in what is their first postseason road trip after hosting the initial four games at home.

“We have a packed house every Friday night, every Saturday and this coming Saturday is going to be huge,” Teats said. “Everybody is going to be there, people from other schools, families are coming in, and everybody that loves Spartan football.”

—Contact Brian Woodson

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