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Rine: Central ‘D’ Steps Up To The Task

November 27, 2011
By SHAWN RINE - Sports Editor ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - More often than not bulletin-board material comes from opposing players. For Wheeling Central this week leading up to its West Virginia Class A semifinal with East Hardy, it came in the form of a writer's words.

''There was a thing on our chalkboard,'' Wheeling Central junior defensive end Braxton Nolte said after the Maroon Knights rolled into the state final with a 37-14 victory. ''There was a writer down in East Hardy that said Central can't stop two-dimensional teams.

''They didn't really run the ball at all and we stopped their pass game.''

Cougars quarterback Kollin Foltz entered the contest with 35 touchdowns this season and more than 8,000 career yards. He left with a 10-for-26, 173-yard, one-touchdown, one-interception performance.

Maroon Knights defensive coordinator Jamie Bordas was up late at night the last week or so, trying to devise a plan to slow down the all-state East Hardy quarterback and his stable of stud receivers. What he came up with was a dime package and an unrelenting pressure that didn't give Foltz much time to think.

''Up to professional all the way down to high school, if you get pressure on the quarterback it's going to make a difference,'' Bordas said. ''Our kids did a great job of that. They were getting tired - there was a lot of plays being run - but they kept getting pressure and I think that really rattles an opposing quarterback.''

Nolte and his teammates recognized immediately when the coaching staff turned on the film, that this East Hardy team wasn't one of your normal Class A throwing pretenders. What they saw, he said, was a guy who's hard to stop once he gets into a rhythm.

''We saw the Bishop film and he made an unbelievable play breaking five tackles in going through the back of the end zone for a score,'' Nolte said. ''They have a heckuva receiving crew. No. 1 (Joshua Parker), we really wanted to focus on him.

''The coaches told us to get pressure on Foltz - he doesn't like to be hit.''

Parker, it should be noted, did not have a catch. In fact, the Cougars only hit one big play, that being a 71-yard hookup from Foltz to Jamie Miller late in the first quarter, cutting the deficit to 14-6.

Overall, East Hardy was limited to 197 yards and nine first downs.

Wheeling Central coach Mike Young couldn't say enough about the performance.

''Our schemes for putting pressure on the quarterbacks, that we've been working on most of this season,'' Young said. ''It's something we put in at the beginning of the season, actually, because you can't let teams stand in and throw the ball.

''We put pressure on him. You saw the speed, the size, the athleticism of their receivers when they did get open. They're a very talented group of kids.''

The thing is, not only did some people think Wheeling Central couldn't defend the pass, but there were many - including myself - who didn't think this club was capable of reaching this point.

That's OK, Nolte said. Keep on doubting.

''State championship lives begin here - that's our motto,'' he said. ''I want to win this year and also next year, and I'll have three.

''Hey, we're playing Saturday night for the state championship.''

Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at

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