HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Stony Point leaning on stacked secondary to carry the defensive load

The Tigers return a pair of all-district players in the defensive backfield

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It's not too early for Kobe Sterling to put a label on the Stony Point defense.

After finishing with the third best defense in district play last season, the Tigers are young but expect to come into their own as the season progresses.

Sterling said the best thing about the group is that nobody gives up on each other.

"We're a very intense group and we bring the energy and we're always ready to go," Sterling said. "We have some players that will help you when you get down. The personality of the team is something I'll be looking forward to."

Sterling and fellow all-district defensive back Keilin Bishop will set the tone for the Tigers in the secondary with Tim Landry, Cameron Williams and Emmanuel Obinna all at linebacker and Jarod Ontiveros has blossomed on the defensive line.

Seven of the top 10 tacklers from last season have graduated, including leading tacker R.J. Denver and physical playmaker Ethan Pitts. Williams (30 tackles), Sterling (25 tackles) and Ontiveros (15 tackles) are the only returns from the top 10.

"The young players transitioned pretty smooth into the defense," Sterling said. "As practice goes, you just pick up with it and know what you're expected to do."

Stony Point head coach Craig Chessher said the team is always going to aim to be in at least the top three in the district statistically, and he feels this defense has the potential to get there once again.

"There are some teams that stack their offense or defense, that's not me," he said. "We're going to put talent on offense and talent on defense. Neither coordinator likes me and the glass is always half empty if you will. We're always going to try and be good on both sides."

But once again, he likes his football team in part because the type of hard-working kids he's been getting at Stony Point the last few years.

"The type of kids we're getting involved in football are good kids," Chessher said. "We have no conduct issues and kids, for the most part, show up on time. I've done this for 35 years and I never lose the enthusiasm. You get older but the kids never do."

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