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High school football: Talented King George defense no longer flying under the radar

High school football: Talented King George defense no longer flying under the radar

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Most of the headlines during King George’s unbeaten season have centered around the Foxes’ powerful offense and their explosive passing game.

But after posting three shutouts and allowing only 49 total points during the regular season, King George’s defense has proven time and time again that it can be elite.

After taking down Chancellor 21-7 in their first-round playoff game, the Foxes (10-0) host Varina (9-1) Friday in the Region 4B semifinals. The Blue Devils enter the game averaging 34.5 points per contest.

“I don’t think our guys are concerned with what we did in the regular season,” King George coach Vern Lunsford said. “I think our goal is to get better each and every day.”

“Every game is extremely tough and every game is a new season with a win-or-go-home situation,” he added. “Our guys were here last year, they know what it feels like, our business is solely on how to get prepared for Varina. Look forward to playing a good team.”

Six Foxes earned spots on the all-Battlefield District first-team defense announced this week: lineman Xavier Harrison, end DeShawn Clark, linebackers Kyle Reviello and Landon Caldwell and defensive backs Gary Lane and Zach Ferguson (who doubles as the team’s quarterback). Ferguson compensated for a subpar passing game with a key interception return for a touchdown against Chancellor last week.

When it comes to playoff coaching compared to regular-season coaching, Lunsford said: “There are always subtle things that you change when you get to the playoffs as far as how you manage the players, the season is a long season, and gotta take care of your players. I think playoff practice looks different compared to regular-season practice for most coaches.”

The Foxes’ defensive coordinator, Cody Goode, has some championship experience. He earned All-Area honors in 2012 as a linebacker on Fredericksburg Christian School’s state finalist team.

“The biggest thing for us is a lot of reps, mental reps, getting lined up, formations. Just a lot of repetition,” Goode said. “Stick to what we know, we will have to adjust due to seeing different formations in the playoffs. Basic thing for us is sticking to what we know and just adjusting to what we see.”

The Foxes are two wins away from their second straight regional title, but they are likely to face increasingly potent offenses in each passing round. As usual, they will take their cue from Reviello, an All-Area pick in the spring season who is a Division-I prospect in both football and baseball.

Said Goode: “Our leader, Kyle Reviello, came into the season with the mindset of us having the best defense in the state. I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, but we know when we step on the field we have to be the best unit on the field.

“I don’t think it’s more pressure, I think it’s just the mentality we have as a whole defense thanks to our leader and how hard he works at practice.”

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