It was just another weekday practice at Evans High School when the Knights' defense lined up against the offense for a goal-line drill.
The simple drill turned into a demonstration on just how solid the Evans defense is.
"We ran 16 plays against our defense and didn't get in the end zone once," Evans football coach Marty Jackson said. "I was frustrated that our offense couldn't do anything, but then again it shows how good that defense is."
It was then that Evans' high-powered offense learned something other top offenses in the region have learned this year: the Knights defense is tough to beat.
"We take a lot of pride in our defense. That's what Evans has been known for as long as I've been here," senior defensive lineman Trey Golston said.
Golston, along with teammates Mykel Green and Tim Tillman, are the three big seniors who line up on the defensive front each week. Put extra emphasis on big.
"I was never really tiny," Golston said. "I never had that good feeling. Piggy-back rides were hard to come by."
That's because Golston came into this world as a hefty 10-pound, 12-ounce newborn. He's now at 6-0, 255 pounds. Tillman (6-2, 285) and Green (6-1, 240) are also monsters in the trenches. Jackson said they're a big reason his team is state-playoff bound with a 7-2 overall record.
"It starts up front," Jackson said. "It's with our defense. If teams can't score on us, we can't lose."
That's the goal of the three seniors on the line and the rest of the Evans defensive unit. It's worked well this year.
Statesboro's highly-touted offense was shut out by the Evans defense earlier this season. Ware County's offense managed only a single score. In last week's win over Glynn Academy, the Knights held the home Terrors to a single touchdown and a pair of field goals.
Green, who has forced three fumbles this year, said the difference is in the attitude.
"We all want to win together," he said. "You couldn't always say that in the past. We've changed leadership, and we're more focused."
Green said while the winning is the most important thing, the defensive line does compete with each other on stats. Entering the Glynn Academy game on Saturday, Green led the trio with 2.5 sacks. Golston had the edge on total tackles. Tillman, who has missed time with an injured ankle this season, still holds two sacks to his credit.
Linebacker Ben Rouse, junior lineman Nigel Charles and a few others also rank high in the defensive categories.
All three senior linemen agreed those individual stats take a back seat on Friday night.
"It matters because we're seniors, and we're trying to get to college, but it doesn't really matter compared to winning," Golston said. "I don't care if I don't have a single tackle or sack in a game as long as we win."
Then he paused.
"Well, I'd be pretty mad, but I'd rather have the win."
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