The expected aggression starts in practice.
It's coach Greg Hill putting his East Meck defense on the one-inch line with the threat of 200 up-downs if the East Meck offense scores, or defenders spending hours in the summer repeating drills in the turnover circuit.
“That's where we are different than a lot of teams,” Hill said. “We don't jump on (loose) balls on defense. We're trying to score every time. I can't tell a kid to be aggressive on one play, but don't be on another.”
East Meck has sprinted to a 4-0 start this year, with the defense leading the way. Led by twin defensive backs Tim and Tray Sanders, defensive back Jamario Sinclair, linebacker Mike Granum, lineman Kyell Collins and others, East Meck has allowed only 20 total points. In the first three games, which included a win over West Charlotte, the Eagles have forced 11 turnovers and allowed a total of six rushing yards.
“Basically,” Granum said, “it's like the coaches tell us. If teams can't score against us, they can't win.”
That showed earlier this month against West Meck, when the East Meck offense sputtered to only seven points. The East Meck defense, though, held the Hawks to only six points and broke up a two-point conversion to preserve the lead.
And it all goes back to Hill, a self-professed “defensive guy,” who preaches controlled aggression and freedom to his defenders. Despite the lack of a large run-stuffer in the middle, Hill has used his player's speed to form one of the best defenses in the area. It will have to remain stout with conference foes like Independence, Butler and South Meck remaining on the schedule.
“I think we match up well with anybody,” Hill said.