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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Ball control: Last year, the Falcons chewed up the clock and held Countryside to 28 offensive plays. If Dunedin sophomore tailback Daris Bellamy (sprained knee) can't go, Rico Boykins will have to pick up the slack.
Pressure Crow: Countryside's O-line is beat up, with two linemen out for the year and two playing hurt. Cougars star quarterback L.D. Crow could - and should - be blitzed.
Limit big plays: In its six wins, Countryside gave up an average of just one play over 15 yards per game. Last week against Tarpon Springs, the Cougars gave up four such plays - and lost.
Stop Bellamy: The Cougars must limit Bellamy, Dunedin's leading rusher, forcing the Falcons to pass
- JOE SMITH, Times staff writer
"D"/BY THE NUMBERS
2.7 Yards per play the Cougars allow
15 Total number of takeaways
111 Yards per game allowed
21 Percent of passes opponents have completed
60 Tackles for loss
Countryside coach John Davis may not be a chess champion, but he made several slick moves this season that sparked a huge upgrade in the defense's team speed. Two safeties switched to linebacker, and two linebackers became linemen.
As a result, the Cougars (6-1), which host Dunedin (5-1) tonight, are "faster on defense than we've ever been," Davis said.
Here are Davis' pawns - err, players - and their impact in their new spots.
Senior nose guard Andrew Irick: A swift, savvy ex-linebacker who, as Dunedin coach Mark Everett says, "gives opposing centers fits." At 6 feet, 200 pounds, he has warded off double teams and is tied for team high in sacks (3).
Junior end Ed Castagliulo: Castagliulo has been one of the Cougars' most improved players, along with senior linebacker Andrew Murray. The 6-2, 195-pound Castagliulo, a former linebacker, has five tackles for loss.
Junior Brandon Lockwood: A former defensive back, the 6-foot, 180-pounder now plays "Dog" linebacker for the Cougars. He hasn't lost his flair for pass coverage, racking up a team-leading three interceptions so far.
Senior A.J. Matthews: At 6-3, 200 pounds, Matthew blends size and speed, making his unusual transition from safety to "Mike" linebacker with ease. The team's leading tackler has caught the eye of Division I colleges, including N.C. State.