Utah high school football: Titans send dynamic defense up against 'Diggers' explosive offense

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 14 2012 9:00 a.m. MST

"And their quarterback can get out of the pocket and scramble. We’re going to try and have good pass coverage and have a couple of backers sitting there so he can’t be scrambling everywhere.

“We’ve always been the underdog ever since the first game and we’ve always been smaller than the other teams, but we’re quicker and that’s how we play," Naisbitt said. "We love to hit and our defense is not scared of anybody. We go into every game with a chip on our shoulder; we know how to get pumped before games, get everyone riled up."

Junior strong safety Kavika Fonua, who sat out last week's game with an ankle injury, is expected to return for Friday's 5A finale. And he says the Titans will be ready for the Jordan offensive assault.

“We're getting their offense down, getting their plays down, and focusing on stopping the run — that’s all we can do," he said. "We'll get ready for them and watch a lot of film.

"We’ve seen their kind of offense before and we’ve stopped them, but we know they have a lot of good players. We’ll do our best.

"He’s good," Fonua said of Kafentzis. "We’ll just have to work a little harder to stop him. He could be one of our hardest, but in order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best."

And although middle linebacker Wyatt German is just a junior and will have another shot at a state-title run next year, he says the Titan team will be pouring all of its energy into bringing home the school's first football state championship on Friday.

"We’ll be playing like it’s our last game; you play every game like it’s your last game," he said. "... You want to help the seniors get their goal and you also want to get the goal yourself because you’ve always had the dream to be a state champion.

“We’ve got a lot of responsibility. We’ve got to stop Kafentzis; we stop their quarterback and stop their run game, force him to throw the ball where it doesn’t need to be thrown, and our DBs will do a good job to get the ball away from them.

“Our way of stopping them is we just take it as they’re just another team," German said. "They’re no different from any of us. Our coaches always tell us they put their shoes on the same way we do; they get ready for practice the same way we do, they get ready for the game the same way we do. It’s just another team. Bingham, Alta, they all put up big numbers, too, but it doesn’t scare us. You’ve always got that."

Koa Mo’o, a senior free safety, had to sit out last week's game after suffering a concussion in the quarterfinal clash with Alta. But he's back feeling 100 percent healthy again, and his presence could be a key factor as Syracuse seeks to take home the title.

“Last week against Bingham, our team stepped up and I’m proud of ‘em," he said. "I’m glad I get another chance to play again. We’ve had guys step up and fill in positions all year long, and they definitely did last week.

“We’re depending on the linemen and linebackers to step up and stop the run game, and we’ll do our thing on defense as the defensive backs. We hope they pass on us; we hope they do. I feel like we’ve got the whole defense that can stop them.

“I think it’ll come down to who wants it more, and we want it pretty bad," Mo'o said. "We’ve been talking about this since Day 1. Winning it would be awesome.”

Caden Call, a 240-pound junior defensive tackle for Syracuse, simplifies the Titans' tough task this way: Just do your job and everything else will take care of itself.

“Just do our job that we’ve been doing all season long," he said. "Our job has got us 12-0, so we’ve just got to finish it out tough against a tough team and do what we’ve got to do.

“They look good but I think we look good, too. I think if we play our best game, it’ll be a great game. I think both sides have got to play their best to win this game.