The Shoemaker Grey Wolves have a defensive creed: Never let up.
And they followed that to a T on Wednesday, even against fellow teammates in a game that was just for bragging rights.
The Shoemaker Blue team, comprised of the defense, forced six turnovers, had four sacks and scored two touchdowns to beat the White team 44-18 in the Shoemaker spring football game Wednesday at Shoemaker High School.
“It felt like the fall, it felt pretty good,” junior outside linebacker Diamon Cannon said.
The game was the culmination of spring football and featured a unique scoring system where the defense got points for interceptions, forcing punts and sacks. Cannon finished with a pair of interceptions and the Blue team allowed just two plays longer than 20 yards.
“Coach (Channon) Hall set the bar pretty high at the beginning of the season,” junior linebacker Teneak Hall said. “He said we’re going to be the best defense around here, so we stuck to that. We just said we’re going to come out and shut them out. There’s nothing they’re going to do, nothing they’re going to run that we can’t see.”
Blue set the tone defensively from the beginning of the game, dictating the tempo and putting up 10 quick points in the first seven minutes of the contest.
Rodney Coleman got things going when he came off the right side of the defense, rounded the corner and hit White quarterback Demetrius Taylor on the blindside just as the quarterback was getting ready to throw the ball downfield. The hit jarred the ball loose and Blue took a 2-0 lead 3:40 into the game.
“We knew what we had to do and that’s come out, handle business and execute,” Cannon said.
Two plays later, Kerry Walker added to the lead with a safety and the Blue team forced two three-and-outs to make it 10-0 with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Cannon established himself as a presence once White started throwing downfield more often to cut into the Blue lead.
His got his first pick of the game off Miguel Santiago on a lob down the near sideline. Cannon tipped the ball to himself and returned the ball 40 yards to the White 40-yard line just 48 seconds into the second quarter.
“I knew it was going to go over my head, so I had to tip it so that either my teammates could get it or I could cover it,” Cannon said.
His second interception came less than five minutes later when Dominique Rodgers was forced out of the pocket, ran left and attempted a pass down the far sideline that Cannon dove to intercept. Those interceptions extended Blue’s lead to 19-7 midway through the second.
Blue added two more sacks before halftime to take a 23-10 lead into the break.
Despite their struggles, White was able to make some plays in the first half, buy just couldn’t string them together.
But White mustered a drive late in the first half with Taylor at quarterback and after getting running back Joseph Massey involved.
Massey carried five times for 43 yards, including a 19-yard score, to cut Blue’s lead to 10-7 with 1:53 remaining in the first quarter.
“The defense had it going and I felt good about it,” head coach Channon Hall said. “Overall, the defense dominated, but I felt we ran the ball inside well on all levels, both groups.”
Taylor closed out the first half with consecutive passes to Massey for 21 and 23 yards to get White into scoring position before the team took a sack and ran out of time in the first half.
Running back Corey Wilson broke out in the second half for a 60-yard touchdown that cut the Blue lead to 26-17 2:24 into the second half. Wilson finished with 103 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
“We were trying to get more aggressive than our defense,” Wilson said. “Our defense was doing their best so we had to come out and do our best.”
But it took Blue just three more plays to put the game out of reach late in the third quarter.
Kewon McNeill returned an interception 50 yards while Tarik Spinks had scores of 55 and 40 yards on interceptions to make it 44-18 Blue with 3:10 remaining.
“I think we got more comfortable, but the defense kept making good stops,” Taylor said. “We just need to correct the execution things on offense and I think we’ll be good.”
Taylor led all quarterbacks, completing 8 of 18 passes for 124 yards and an interception. Robert Fischman caught three passes for 53 yards.
The Grey Wolves are coming off a 7-4 season in which they made the playoffs for the second time since the school opened in 2000. Now they turn their attention to summer workouts and a return trip to the postseason.
The first day of fall football practice is Aug. 11 and teams can begin contact drills four days later.