Tristian Green never gives up on a play with a potential sack or tackle at stake. That is the key to the Cox Mill senior defensive-end's game, after he established himself as one of the top defenders in the South Piedmont conference last year with 16.5 sacks.
"To be a great defensive lineman, you have to have a motor that never stops," Green said. "I try to work harder on every play."
Green made a big impact on the Charger defense last year, averaging nearly two sacks per contest. Green had 5.5 sacks in the opener against Thomasville, four in a big win against Jay M. Robinson and three against East Rowan.
Green "takes it upon himself to make big plays when we need them," said Cox Mill coach Greg Neuendorf. "We are expecting even bigger things from him this year."
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This year, despite being more a "marked man" because of his past prowess on the field, Green should have a chance to be just as good, with a veteran group returning that includes 6-foot-2, 327-pound senior Chris Blakeney and classmate Brian Ordasz on the inside and junior Qaudrie Jackson on the edge.
Green has been working hard all offseason in preparation for his senior year, extending his defensive repertoire to seven or eight moves off the ball. His favorite move is the "club rip," where he goes outside first and rips underneath the offensive lineman in pursuit of the quarterback or ball carrier. Green is usually 40 to 50 pounds lighter than opposing offensive tackles, but that doesn't stop him.
"Everybody has a weakness, no matter how big they are," he said. "For me, it all starts on Monday, when the coaches and I look at who we are playing and talk about their strengths and weaknesses. I attack their weaknesses and try to exploit them every play."
Neuendorf says Green and his defense can be more effective by forcing teams in second- and third-and-long situations, where pass rushers can get opportunities to make plays.
To accomplish that, Green will line up in different positions, always trying to take advantage of mismatches and keeping opponents guessing about his lineup.
"A great pass rusher can have a huge impact on the game," said Neuendorf. "But to do that we have to be accountable for where players like Green are lined up on every play. They need to worry about him."
Green said he hopes his play will be just a part of the improvement of a Cox Mill team on the verge of breaking into the upper echelon of the SPC.
"This year, we've got a lot of people coming back and we expect big things," said Green. "We're trying to make a big run and have our best season."