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Southmoreland football team looking for big things on defense

| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Go to any Steelers home game and most assuredly you will hear Steeler fans chanting de-fense, de-fense!!

The 2013 Southmoreland Scotties hope that they can get their fans into chanting the same thing for them this coming season.

Last season, the Scotties were burned time and time again by the big play.

This season, new head coach Mark Adams and his staff know that in order for this team to be successful, they must not give up the big play.

“We want to attack the football and make the other team make mistakes,” Adams said. “We can not give up 300 yards a game on defense and expect to win games. We have to disrupt the flow of the other teams offense, and it all begins with communication. We want to attack, and not react, to the situation.”

The Southmoreland defense will once again have its work cut out for it when it takes the field in 2013.

The Scotties are once again playing in the second toughest Class AA conference in the WPIAL.

The Interstate Conference could easily have two of its own members playing against one another at Heinz field for the WPIAL championship in November.

Southmoreland faces three of the big four from the conference in the first three weeks of the season.

Jeannette and Washington both have powerful offenses that like to strike quickly, and Greensburg Central Catholic and Mt. Pleasant both like to wear down their opponents by beating them into submission.

Southmoreland opens its season at home against Jeannette Aug. 30, and that game will set the tone what type of season the Scotties will have in 2013.

A Scottie win at home would do wonders for their confidence heading into a week to showdown at Washington.

To prepare for that, the Scotties have tweaked their defensive alignments for this season.

The Scotties are switching to a 3-4 defense this season, hoping to take advantage of their team speed on the defensive side of the ball.

“Our linebackers must make plays for us to be successful,” Adams explained. “We must get off the field and put the ball in the hands of our offense.”

The Scotties return 11 letterman to this year's defense, and Adams is expecting big things from his defensive unit.

“It all starts up front and controlling the line of scrimmage,” said Adams. “We have to put pressure on the quarterback and plug the holes.”

Southmoreland has the horses to be successful up front.

Doug Leighty and Jordan Pawlikowski will man the end positions and apply the outside pressure, while the inside guys will rotate. Those working the inside positions will be Dean Barbus, Travis Jones, Nathan Brown, and Joe Espy.

At the linebacker positions, the Scotties are well-stocked with aggressive talent. All four linebackers are returning lettermen, and will be counted on heavily to make sure tackles and swarm to the ball.

Leading the charge will be Jake Beistel and Chas King. Both were instrumental parts of the defense last year, and both are bigger and stronger than they were a season ago.

Also getting bigger and faster than he was a year ago, is senior linebacker Brady King. King has added 20 pounds of muscle to his frame this season and should be an impact player in the Scotties defensive scheme.

In the secondary, Southmoreland is blessed with excellent speed at the cornerback position. Both Jake Pisula and Kyle Cohen are gifted athletes with sensational speed and agility, while safeties Aaron Bailey and Justin Livengood both possess the hands and speed to step into passing lanes and disrupt opposing receivers down field.

“If we can control the momentum of games and get our defense off the field, we will be competitive,” said Adams.

With 11 returning lettermen on the defensive side of the ball, the offense should get a lot more opportunities to control the clock and the momentum of the game

Mark King is a contributing writer.

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