Mansfield Timberview football fans caught a glimpse of how stifling the Wolves defense could be last season in a 35-7 victory over district rival Mansfield Lake Ridge.
The Eagles, who had an outstanding season in their own right, had averaged nearly 50 points per game in district play and advanced to the regional quarterfinals in the playoffs in 2016.
But on Oct. 28, the Wolves held the potent Lake Ridge offense in check, allowing 275 yards of total offense and creating three turnovers, winning a crucial game that would eventually help propel them to a playoff berth.
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Four members of the current defensive unit earned all-district honors, including middle linebacker Steven Lucas, who finished the season with 58 tackles, while causing two fumbles and had four tackles for loss for the Wolves.
Coach James Brown said Lucas really came into his own last season as a junior, and said he believes that he will continue to improve this year.
“The commitment he has is real,” Brown said. “He believes in himself and works to improve on his game and his life every day. Steven never complains; he pushes forward and leads others to follow. Steven has the ability to quietly lead his peers. He does what is right.”
Lucas said he was pleased with the way his team picked things up after a slow start to last season, and said he believes that a couple of factors contribute to the prowess of the Timberview defense.
“Communication and toughness is what makes our defense what it is,” Lucas said. “We’re always on the same page, we fix our mistakes and don’t ever give up.”
Lucas said he is optimistic about Timberview’s chances in 2017 and said that this year’s team has a good mixture of veteran leadership and young talent.
“I think a good team dynamic we have is speed and confidence,” Lucas said. “We know we have big expectations, and we believe we will achieve our goals we have set for this year.”
Brown said Lucas had a big impact for the Wolves in 2016 and added that he expects his role to expand even more this coming season.
“He will be asked to do much more than he did last year,” Brown said. “Our expectation of him is to lead the defense. We want him to be the smartest guy on the field and capable of making all the calls and checks necessary for us to be successful.
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