As the fall 2015 football season approaches, it is time to start our breakdown of the top units in high school football. The primary factors that make a unit work, know your teammates skills and perform one’s responsibility with fearless relentlessness and cunning. And as the saying goes, a unit is only as strong as its weakest link. These next five linebacking units can be considered to have the biggest on field impact in high school football.
5) St. Sebastian High School (Needham, MA)
The blue collar hitters of St. Sebastian will come out of the tunnel this fall led by Blake Gallagher. What sets their unit apart from others is their constant pursuit. The entire linebacking crew will bear down on the ball carrier. Seeing black and red after playing the Arrows is not just contributed to their uniform color, but it’s also because being corralled by an entire group of backers can be quite painful. Gallagher, who has been coined as playing with an extra dose of “get there” will be the tip of the spear as he leads his core up against opponents in the run first, pass second Independent School League Conference.
4) Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, CA)
When playing against Mater Dei’s defense, the conversations of rival backfields are brief. Quarterback to his running back…”Those linebackers don’t look so tough, I think we can take ’em.” Running back to his quarterback…”Know this, they comin’.” A playful but understandable dialogue that epitomizes the group of linebackers from Mater Dei High School. The Monarchs defense uses a five and six man pressure that looks more like an oncoming stampede than organized football play. The leader of the pack, Curtis Robinson, makes sure his group is all business on game day. Expect Mater Dei to finish in the top 20 nationally in total team defense and also have several players, including Robinson garner all conference and all state honors.
3) Bolingbrook High School (Bolingbrook,IL)
Anyone who watches MMA knows that once a fighter steps inside the octagon, win or lose he will suffer physical pain. The same can be said about opponents of the Bolingbrook Raider defense. A “tough as nails” linebacker, Tuf Borland leads a unit that is fancied around delivering maximum punishment to its opponents. These Raider linebackers don’t just hit, they pummel. The devastation that is left on the field after a match up with the black and red can sometimes leave opposing coaches shaking their heads wondering why they exposed their offense to such football carnage. Opposing players are simply thankful that they only have to face these linebackers once during the fall.
2) Katy High School (Katy, TX)
Those boys from Katy show opposing running backs what a walk through the “Hit Pit” feels like. Bigger hits, bigger linebackers, and bigger pains are suffered by opponents. Paddy Fisher, Breydon Boyd, and Hunter Stinson help fans learn why they say everything is bigger in Texas. What this unit brings to the table sums up what a complete and dominant group should have which is speed, aggressiveness, and the ability to eliminate an opponent’s run game. It’s no secret in Texas that during week 4 the Katy versus Woodlands game is one of the more highly anticipated match ups of the season. It is a welcomed challenge for these backers and a chance to avenge the 2014 loss to the Highlanders. It would be highly suggested that the opponents of Katy brace themselves for a journey through the “Hit Pit, ” because Fisher, Boyd, and Stinson have their targets set on opposing backs.
1) Manor High (Manor,TX)
The storm that rises in Manor Texas has a lot to do with the linebackers. Brought on by Erick Fowler and his fellow mustangs, they gather their defensive storm in a relentless combination of defensive pursuit and strategic offensive disruption. They strike opponents fiercely and Mustang fans are left ablaze wanting more. The Manor defense looks to disrupt offenses with their delayed blitz. A very effective measure in combination with the athleticism the group has had over the past decade. Xavier Zamora and Adrian Hunter will join in completing a group that is as intimidating as it is athletic. Daring to take the field against the Manor defense is at one’s own risk. Expecting to put up big offensive stats against these Mustangs is even more futile.
Next up will be Nation’s Top Units Series…Receivers. Stay tuned