By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer
Trying to pick a weakness in the Vian Wolverines can be as big of a headache as trying to beat them.
While the No. 1-ranked team in Class 2A is averaging 63.8 points per game, the defense has recorded six shutouts and has only been scored on five times all year, and never more than once in a game, including the one touchdown it surrendered to Haskell last Friday in a 78-8 win.
"They don’t want to be the one to get scored on, whether its the secondary, linebackers or defensive line," said Vian coach Brandon Tyler. “They just feed off each other and challenge each other, no matter which 11 we have on the field, to try and throw a shutout."
Senior two-way lineman and University of Tulsa commit Rob Boyd feels that this pride factor that runs throughout the defense boils down to everybody putting in the work that’s necessary.
"We’re all playing great and taking care of our technique," he said. "We’re just down to basics, one play at a time and not taking any plays off."
The next time Vian takes the field will be at home on Friday against Kansas (9-2) and the Comets do present some concerns for the Wolverines.
Kansas likes to move the ball through the air. Quarterback Logan Blaine has completed 94 of 158 passes (59.5 percent) and 30 touchdowns with his main target being Johnny Lewis, who has hauled in 55 of Blaine’s attempts for 1,106 yards and 16 touchdowns.
"They run a spread offense and like to throw the football," Tyler said. "Their quarterback does a good job running their offense. They do run out of the spread at times, but for the most part they pass it.”
The postseason atmosphere creates momentary mood swings for Boyd.
"This is an awesome year but sometimes I think that the next time I step on the field could be my last," he said. "All of us seniors feel that way. We want to win a state championship but we have to take it one game at a time."
If one problem can be found, it’s that the Wolverines (11-0) have had total control each and every game this season by halftime. Tyler believes that if or when the time comes that they aren’t, his guys will be prepared.
“We’ve always focused on coming out strong,” Tyler said. “We have preached to the kids to go 100 percent and our starters have definitely done that for the first two quarters of each game. When the subs come in, they pick up on how the first stringers were playing and they have the same mentality.
“I feel that should we get in a tight game, and in the playoffs we should, we’ll be ready.”
That should come no later than next week. The Kansas-Vian winner will face two-time 2A champion Hennessey or Washington. Vian would play Washington on the road and Hennessey at home in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal.