Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops frequently reminds the media in his state that he's the head coach, no longer just tied to the defense.
What Stoops will be getting at is that he's happy with winning performances whether they come by scores of 13-10 or 51-50 and he's not only excited for his defense.
Rider coach Jim Garfield is in the same boat. But after getting excited about another Region I-4A semifinal win two weeks ago which featured 64 points, he also took a look at the 35 points and several big plays his defense had allowed to El Paso Burges.
When his defense responded by stopping Frenship in Saturday's 33-7 Region I-4A championship game at Memorial Stadium, the coach was literally jumping for joy.
"From a defensive standpoint the difference between the Burges game and Saturday is I think they were a little embarrassed and they took it upon themselves to rectify that," he said.
Focus and film work made a big difference. They went from giving up four runs of 50 yards or more to a long of 27 and just two gains of 10 or more. And from 35 points to seven.
The Raiders are 12-2, tying the 2007 team for wins in a season. They can go for more school history this week.
"They wanted to show what our defense was capable of doing, and not in a cocky way, but they went to work this past week and it was solid labor. We had great communication and hardly any breakdowns. It was a great week."
And Garfield believes they'll attack Friday's Class 4A Division II state semifinal against Lancaster (13-1) in the same manner.
One key to another 1-0 week, Garfield said, "is to put that one in the basket and close it up and get on to the next one. The celebrating is over. This is a good outfit that we're about to play."
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Scribner mans post
The Rider defense stresses that the outside linebackers become "fence posts" and not let anything outside of them. Sam Scribner made sure his end of the fence was sturdy all day with a team-high 17 tackles.
Inside linebackers Bradley Goldstein and Josh Haisten had 13 and 11 tackles, respectively. Caleb Levell had seven stops and a sack. Levell and Scribner both surpassed the 10-tackle mark for the year to give the team five century club members.
Safety Fred Williams had 10 tackles and has 110 on the year.
The defensive line also did more than just take up blockers as Dylan Willimas, Cody Ribble and Trey Parker all had at least one tackle for loss or sack. Williams had eight total tackles and Parker made seven.
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Power vs. Power
Rider is the highest-scoring 4A Div. II playoff team of the final four. The Raiders have scored 172 points, 43 per game, in four rounds of the postseason.
On the other hand Lancaster has allowed only 60 points or 15 per game. Cedar Park, which outscored its Region IV opponents 169-43, has been the stingiest team left.
The most points Rider had ever scored in four playoff rounds was 184 by the 2004 Region I-4A runner-up team.