DHS linebackers scare their opponents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 2004

To hear them described, you might think they lined up every Friday night wearing cute robes and playing hand bells.

For that matter, one of them hardly played last year and another one, Lawrence says, doesn’t really come across as that much of a football player.

Yeah, right.

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Try telling that to Milan Williams, the slippery running back for UMS-Wright. Ask Trinity quarterback Rory McKean if these guys have a gentle side.

Oh, sure, they ring bells. They ring the bells of opposing quarterbacks, running backs and, sometimes, obnoxious chain gangs.

Meet the four linebackers for the Demopolis High Tigers. Starting at outside linebacker are Ezell Braxton and Chris Cupit.

At the inside linebacker spots are Clarke Kerby and Seth Basinger.

They’re all quiet &045;&045; maybe with the exception of Cupit.

They all have quickness &045;&045; no exceptions.

And they all know how to deliver hits that scare slippery running backs from wandering past their offensive lines. Shucks, Goodwin doesn’t even know what he’d do if he were an opposing coach.

James Moody coaches Cupit, Joey Browder coaches Ezell, and Tony Pittman helps Lawrence coach Kerby and Basinger. Those four coaches may not have an easier job for the remainder of their careers.

The linebacker corps best game of the season? Again, Goodwin is stumped.

Yes, when three of those linebackers are the top three tacklers on the team, and the other one is second on the squad in sacks, it’s hard to imagine that the DHS linebackers have had an off-game. Such tends to happen when players listen during practice and execute on the field.

What is wasted movement? It’s breaking on the ball at the right time. It’s recognizing an offensive formation and getting in position to stop a pesky quarterback who thinks he can run. It’s delivering a blow so powerful that the quarterback thinks twice before he runs again.

Anyone who traveled to Mobile and saw Demopolis play UMS-Wright knows exactly what that means.

UMS quarterback Allen Aubin couldn’t get his offense going after the first few possessions of the first quarter. On one play during the second quarter, Aubin couldn’t find an open receiver so he took the ball and began to run down the left side of the line. Maybe better, Aubin slowly ducked behind his offensive line.

Like most opposing quarterbacks, Aubin was in no hurry to find a hole. In part, the DHS defensive line didn’t allow one to open and, if it had, a crop of linebackers would have sent the wiry fellow backwards.

After DHS defeated Trinity two weeks ago, Wildcat head coach Randy Ragsdale had one thing to say about the Tiger defense.

Yes, they are good &045;&045; and all for virtually the same reasons.

To a man, each of the four linebackers has his own trait, with outside linebacker Cupit the most interesting of them all.

Lawrence thinks Cupit has some sort of switch he can turn on, and it’s not fun to be on the other side of that switch.

Braxton has started for the Tigers since he was a freshman and Goodwin shutters to think about what it’s like to take a lick from the other outside linebacker.

Like most of the other players on the DHS sideline, Lawrence looks at Braxton as one of those coachable players.

Then there’s Kerby and Basinger, who sound like cloned inside linebacker twins.

Goodwin, like Lawrence, can’t talk about Kerby without talking about Basinger &045;&045; and vice versa.

The echo continues.

For that matter, Goodwin says you could meet Kerby or Basinger on the side of the road and think they were the nicest guys in town. When they walk on the football field, though, they hit, they hurt, and they don’t seem to mind.

Deshler would do well if this linebacker corps left their helmets on the bus.

They won’t.

They’ll be ready to ring some bells.

Robes not included.