December 3, 2009 11:36:00 AM
JACKSON -- Decedrick Quinn doesn''t mince words.
As a linebacker on the Aberdeen High School defense, Quinn has watched as opponents have rushed through, around, and over it en route to the end zone.
Quinn vowed his senior year was going to be different.
To back up his intentions, Quinn promised the offense that if it scored at least 28 points a game the defense would do what it took to win.
The Bulldogs have lived up to that pledge, allowing 21 or more points only three times this season. Two of those games came in losses in the first three weeks of the season, while the other came in a victory against South Pontotoc.
Aberdeen (13-2) will put its defense to the test one final time at 11 a.m. Saturday when it plays Tylertown for the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 3A title at Mississippi Memorial Stadium.
Quinn, a captain on the defense, said the Bulldogs have "flown under the radar" this season in part because the Bulldogs'' offense is so prolific. But he cautioned the Chiefs not to underestimate a defense that has plenty of speed and athleticism and the right mix of size.
"People are starting to realize we have a high-caliber defense, too, with a bunch of playmakers and hard hitters," Quinn said.
Quinn, who also was a defensive captain last season when the Aberdeen lost to Louisville in the Class 3A North Half State title, said leadership has been the added ingredient that has helped the Bulldogs click this season. He said players have pushed each other to get better every day and not to settle for just being good.
"Our defense is not the biggest, and our team is not the biggest, but this year we became more aggressive," Quinn said. "We have been getting 11 men to the football. It is hard to see just one man on the tackle. You are going to see two and three and four people on the tackle every time because everybody wants some and everybody is hungry to tackle and hit."
Aberdeen High coach Chris Duncan said the Bulldogs were smaller up front in recent years. This season, he said the emergence of sophomore Channing Ward, junior Fred Ward, and other has the Bulldogs push back and hold their own against opponents.
"The defense has kept us in every game we have played this year," Duncan said. "If you go back and look back at the stats, most of the touchdowns given up have been against the JV. Those guys have played lights out all year. Coach (Patrick) Schoolar has done a good job with those guys. The good thing about that is a lot of them are coming back. It is one of those things where we''re excited about the years ahead of us at Aberdeen."
Duncan said play of Quinn and senior Laboris Carter also has improved. He said it has been easy to believe Quinn and the defense were going to live up to the pledge made at the beginning of the season.
"The defense has pride this year," Duncan said. "We kind of had the mentality the last couple of years that we were going to outscore you. This year, our defense has the mentality that we''re going to stop you. It has helped us be a better ballclub."
n Heritage Academy 72, C&M&I 59 (B): At Madison, Cole Walker had a team-high 24 points Wednesday to lead the Patriots (4-1).
Tyler White (17 points), Justin Frye (11), and Will West (10) also scored in double figures for Heritage Academy, which will play Madison-Ridgeland Academy at 7:45 tonight in the semifinals of the MRA Tournament.
n MRA 59, Heritage Academy 42: Madison Ford had 26 to lead the Lady Patriots (3-5), who will play Trinity Episcopal at 6:30 tonight in the semifinals of the MRA Tournament.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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