At the midway point of the season, the Hickman Kewpies have learned the hard way that turnovers lose games.
At 7 tonight, the Kewpies will try to create turnovers against the Parkway South Patriots (3-2) at Hickman High.
In their 24-0 loss to the Blue Springs South Jaguars last week, the Kewpies (2-3) struggled to create an effective pass rush in the first half. The inability to pressure the quarterback allowed the Jaguars to build a 17-0 halftime lead.
After halftime though, the Kewpies found a way to pressure the quarterback, which led to three sacks and limited the Jaguars to seven points.
“Last week we defended the pass very poorly,” coach Gregg Nesbitt said. “Pass defense is all 11, not just the secondary. From a positive standpoint, I thought we played much better defensively in the second half and created some negative plays.”
Defensive lineman Joe Schumacher led the Kewpies last week with two sacks and four tackles for loss, resulting in a net loss of 39 yards. Schumacher, a junior, has three sacks on the season.
“It is a huge emotional momentum swing,” Nesbitt said. “I think sacks breed confidence, which eventually breeds aggression. I think players just feed off that stuff from an emotional standpoint.”
Nesbitt said the players in the secondary can help the front line significantly by staying tight on their receivers. By forcing the quarterback to hold the ball longer, the defensive line and linebackers have more time to reach the quarterback and make the sack.
“Our defense is designed for the linebacker to get loose,” Schumacher said. “Last week, we blitzed the whole time and their guys had a lot of problems blocking us later in the game.”
Nesbitt blames some of the problems of not reaching the quarterback on the inability to recognize the difference between a passing and running play.
Nesbitt said he believes the Patriots are prone to throwing interceptions. Although Hickman plans to limit the number of all-out blitzes, Schumacher said the defense will create the necessary pressure.
“We go out every week and prepare for each team to be just as physical as all the others,” Schumacher said. “We’re just going to go all out this game.”