By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
While many football games this season have fans asking “Where’s the defense?”, the ball-stoppers at Concord University are present and accounted for.
The Mountain Lions held Glenville State scoreless except for three long-range field goals in Concord’s 14-9 homecoming win on Saturday in Athens.
“We just had a great mindset coming into this game,” said senior nose guard Josh Miller, who has gone four-for-four in his collegiate homecoming games.
CU head coach Garin Justice said, “We were fortunate enough defensively that we kept them out of the end zone, and dodged a couple of bullets, and forced them to kick some field goals.”
Defensive intensity certainly was necessary in the second half, after the visiting Pioneers took a 6-0 lead into the break.
Miller said, “All together, we just decided we needed to come together and become a better defense, and not even let them get a field goal.”
Linebacker Jake Lilly led the defensive statistics with three solo tackles and 11 assists. Howard Jordan was close behind with two solos and 11 assists.
Riyadh Richardson also had three solo stops, an interception that stopped Glenville near the Concord goal line, and two pass breakups. Davon Marion was the other Concordian with three solos. Jimmy Keating had five assists.
Defensive back Kevin Elliott intercepted a pass on Glenville State’s first offensive play of the game, his second consecutive game with a pick.
Miller explained that the defensive line’s job is to occupy the blockers, allowing the linebackers and backs to make the majority of the tackles. He said happily, “Jake Lilly and Jimmy Keating were all over the place today, making tackles and everything.”
The defense allowed 13 points to a powerful Shepherd team on Sept. 29 in Shepherdstown. The Rams got one of their touchdowns in the 20-6 game by running in a blocked field-goal try.
Halfway through the season, the Concord defense has seen option attacks, spread formations, bubble screens and runs out of a tight full-backfield formation.
On Saturday, the Pioneers went to an option look after starting quarterback Darold Hughes was pulled from the game in the second half because of a head injury. The Concord defense didn’t miss a beat.
Justice said, “Coach (Paul) Price and Coach (Steve) Adams and those guys, their game plan is going to be, doesn’t matter who’s quarterbacking or what the call is, if we execute our fundamentals, we should be able to be successful.
“And that’s basically what happened.”
In the game’s final 10 minutes, Glenville State was able to gain just 25 yards.
Concord had the overall advantage in total yards gained, 285 to 256; rushing yards, 222 to 123; first downs, 18 to 16; and controlled the ball for almost six minutes more than the Pioneers.
On offense, Justice said, “We were fortunate enough up front we blocked well enough to give Calvinaugh (Jones) some holes, and Calvinaugh did a great job finishing plays.” The freshman ended with 186 yards rushing.
The coach said that the football program’s three “teams” — defense, offense and special teams — pride themselves on supporting each other.
“A motto we have on this team is, ‘Don’t let the other team fail’,” he said. “By us fumbling on the kickoff return, our defense did a nice job of saving that and not giving up a touchdown and not letting those guys fail.”
“The defense bailed us out earlier, by not letting them fail.”
— Contact Tom Bone at