BY WILL NATIONS
Oak Hill Head Coach Tony Stanford uses the adage that defense wins championships.
The first-year head coach for the Raiders has seen promise from his defensive unit during the first three weeks of the preseason and is hoping it carries over into the regular season.
â€śI think defense is my calling card,â€ť Stanford said. â€śI have been able to put together some good ones in the past. I usually focus on getting the best athletes on defense; that is what helped turn Columbus around while I was there. I think to be a championship ball club you have to have a great defense.â€ť
To become a great defense, Oak Hill will have to show improvement from its five-win 2013 season.
Against 11 opponents last year, Oak Hill allowed 295 points, an average of 27 points per game. In comparison, MAIS Class-AA 2013 champion Simpson Academy held its 14 opponents to 109 points per game.
The Raider defense allowed a season-high of 59 points in the MAIS first-round playoff game against Centreville Academy Nov. 1 and a season-low zero against Hartfield Academy Aug. 23. Oak Hill held opponents to less than 10 points three times, all wins, in the 11-game slate.
Though the Raiders return eight starters from last seasonâ€™s defense, the loss of all-state defensive tackle Joseph Caskey could weigh heavily on the defensive line. Oak Hill junior Caleb Roberson looks to fill the void, according to Stanford. The 5-foot-11, 225-pound defensive lineman had numerous snaps beside Caskey last season.
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