FORT WAYNE – Russell Collins can see the future, having wiped the sweat from his eyes on this sweat-blurred August night. He can see the future, and it looks hazardous.
Not to him or his undefeated North Side Redskins, mind you. To a whole lot of others.
We get clicking on all cylinders on offense and defense, North Sides 6-foot-3, 260-pound lineman said Friday night at Zollner Stadium as his teammates celebrated a 26-13 victory over Bishop Dwenger, were going to be dangerous.
For now, theyll settle for being resourceful.
Resourcefulness was a North Side defense that stepped out of the shadows of quarterback C.J. Jackson and the gaudy offense Friday night, just at the moment when it needed to do just that.
Got to give Dwenger credit because their defense played really well tonight to stop our offense, said coach Ryan Hall, whose Redskins (3-0, 2-0 SAC) beat the Saints last year for the first time in a decade.
(But) our defensive game plan was just awesome, and then weve got to give credit to our kids. Our job was to contain (Dwenger running back) DMarcus Moon and not let (Ryan) Watercutter get deep on us. So I think we did a pretty good job tonight.
They needed to, if for no other reason to get through a first half that followed the most bizarre of scripts.
Dwenger (2-1, 2-1) got out of that half with a 7-6 lead, thanks to Gus Pelkingtons 48-yard romp with a Jackson fumble on North Sides second possession. It got out of that half despite the fact that the North Side defense all but shuttered the Saints offense, limiting it to two first downs and 39 total yards.
Dwenger didnt make a first down until quarterback Colin Miller found Keenan Centlivre for 19 yards with 3:58 to play in the first half; until then, the Saints had negative yardage for the night and Moon was on his way to a 10-carry, 12-yard night.
North Side, meanwhile, had racked up 188 yards by halftime, none of which had produced any points. An illegal-shift penalty wiped out a 98-yard run to the 1-yard line by Anthony Linnear; an interception killed another drive; and Jacksons fumble at the 8-yard line on a play that looked like six squelched another.
It took our offense a little bit to get going, Hall said. But the best thing about our team is when we are shooting ourselves in the foot, were not backing down. Were just going to keep playing and hopefully a big play happens.
It did, eventually, and it was the defense that made it. With Dwenger backed up against its own goal line, the Redskins chased Miller into his end zone, forcing a fumble that bounced out to the 2-yard line, where North covered.
On the next play, Linnear cashed the miscue to put North Side up 12-7 with 3:31 to play in the third quarter.
After that, it was Jackson who put it away, converting two fourth-down plays into scores in the fourth quarter and finishing with 177 yards rushing and 128 passing.
But definitively, this was the defenses night.
Our defense showed up tonight, Hall said.