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Tolton football's defense hopes for second shutout

Thursday, October 10, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:34 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 10, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School football players hustled off the field after playing the Harrisburg Bulldogs on Friday with their heads high.

Not only had they won their first game of the season 41-0, improving the team's record to 1-5, but the team had the program's first shutout. This defensive display comes from the same team that was shutout 56-0 in Week 1 by Valle Catholic.

In the first five games of the season, Tolton's defense allowed an average of 42.8 points per game. But Friday's game told a different story. The Trailblazers' defense had two sacks, eight tackles for a loss and held Harrisburg to 130 yards of total offense.

Tolton coach Chad Masters said the win came from improving defensive fundamentals in practice.

"We're just getting better each week," Masters said. "I'm not going to say that Harrisburg was the same opponent as Valle Catholic, but they still battled hard and gave us everything they could. We really focused on returning back to basics and focusing on fundamentals."

Senior linebacker and running back Austin Gregory said the defensive shutout was the payoff for a long process of improvement.

"We've been working hard all season, and it finally paid off," Gregory said. "Harrisburg was a good opponent, and it just felt good to not allow a team to score and being able to score at will."

Gregory also said he expects the defense to improve the rest of the season.

"We're a young team, but we've been maturing as the season goes along," Gregory said. "We're starting a lot of sophomores, so they're just now getting the hang of varsity football and how defenses work."

Tolton will look to reach another milestone Friday against Missouri Military Academy, the only team it defeated in the 2012 season. If the Trailblazers manage a win, it will be the first time the program has won consecutive games.

Gregory said the defense has its own goal.

"To get another shutout, obviously," Gregory said.

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.


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