The Lakeshore Peewee AAA Cougars completed an outstanding season Sunday, putting the finishing touches an undefeated 12-0 record with a hard-fought 9-7 championship-game victory over the Chomedey Blues.
Later on this week, we'll get into a discussion with head coach Trevor Lovig about his offence and how the team managed to put up almost 43 points per game without more than two full-time offensive linemen playing the position.
Today, we'll focus on the defensive unit, which stifled dynamic Chomedey Blues quarterback Goerge Koutsokos, holding him to just a few completions and limiting his ability to extend plays and turn them into big, downfield gains, as he had the week previous in the Blues' 52-34 semifinal win over Richelieu.
Defensive coordinator Glen Cooper knew coming in that stopping Koutsokos was key, and that to do so, the Cougars would have to be remarkably disciplined in order to stop the most athletic and dynamic opposition offensive player the Cougars had seen all season.
"We took a page out of the (Los Angeles) Chargers' playbook," Cooper said of the Chargers' decision to put seven defensive backs on the field to contain a mobile quarterback in a recent playoff game. "We put seven defensive backs on the field and relied on our front five players to generate a rush, contain on the backside and stay in their lanes," he said.
Only linebacker Peace Mbakadi lined up in the middle of the field, rending that part vulnerable, but because Chomedey had relied on Koutsokos' scrambling ability to pull them out of trouble all season, Cooper added. "They didn't adjust at any point," he said.
Nose tackle Lance Von Borstel was so disruptive in his pursuit of Blues' ballcarriers that at times, the Chomedey offensive line was arguing over who had to block him -- because no one wanted to, Cooper said, and the Cougars' defensive backs so blanketed the Blues' receivers that Koutsokos didn't complete a ball longer than seven yards until late in the fourth quarter.
" I think the defensive backs had to be good, because we didn't really notice them at all. Sometimes those guys had to cover for eight, nine..10 seconds. That's asking a lot. Even the deep ball (Koutsokos) hit was good coverage and the kid made a good play to catch the ball. We asked a lot of Lance, and he delivered and I think Ben Parent had the best game of his entire career. He picked a great time to have his best game ever," he said.
That Cooper could so easily shift to a dime-plus-one defense speaks to the diverse skill sets of the young men who played for the team and the flexibility of the coaching staff to implement it, quickly, and with attention to detail.
Indeed, Cooper said he was waiting to do his postgame evaluation because he had not yet seen the film of the game, but he hinted that he might be particularly proud of this performance.
"I'm anxious to see the film. I'd like to see if we played as well as I think we did."