Chargers' defense could be real deal

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By Dan Johnson

Football coaches typically don’t expect perfection in the season opener.

They are well aware heading into that first game that mistakes are going to be made. They just hope those mistakes aren’t game-enders.

After Chatfield’s 24-10 thumping of cross-town rival Dakota Ridge on Aug. 28 at Jefferson County Stadium in a nonleague game, Chargers coach Bret McGatlin was critical of his offense, which turned the ball over three times.

But, when asked about his defense, McGatlin cracked a wide grin.

After watching the game, it was easy to see why he was so happy. The Chargers’ D dominated the line of scrimmage, which took the usually high-powered Dakota Ridge offense out of its rhythm.

That constant pressure made for a rough debut for Cameron Pritchett as the new Dakota Ridge quarterback. Pritchett never had a chance to get comfortable in the pocket, often times running for his life. When he didn’t get away, the Chargers made sure to put him on the turf, sacking him five times and intercepting him once.

“We did even better than we thought we’d do,” said senior defensive tackle Tim Torres, one of the Chatfield sack-monsters on the evening.

It remains to be seen if the Chargers’ dominance on defense will hold up once they return to playing 5A opponents (Dakota plays 4A), but one thing is certainly clear; these group of Chargers are faster than in years past.

“We do have a lot of team speed,” McGatlin said. “It was great to see so many guys flying towards the ball and breaking through the line. You get in a quarterback’s face as much as we did (Aug. 28) and it’s going to be difficult for anyone in that situation to be successful.”

Dakota Ridge saw how difficult it was, scoring just three points in the first three-and-a-half quarters before finally connecting on a long touchdown pass in the closing minutes.

“Our defense is going to carry us through most games,” said senior free safety/wide receiver Scott Kellogg, who had the interception.

Should the defense play with the same speed and intensity as they did against Dakota Ridge on Aug. 28, the Chargers could have a long season ahead of themsevles.