Turning point

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

If Brian Montgomery has said it once, he’s said it 1,000 times.

Selma can’t afford to make mistakes.

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Honestly, very few teams can.

But they seem to be more costly for the Saints. They have stayed close to opponents for either the entirety or the greater portion of their games this season.

An interception in the end zone early in last Friday’s game against Stanhope Elmore caused a 13-point swing that Selma never recovered from.

And the motto for the rest of the season will be no different.

“We’re our biggest enemy right now,” Montgomery said. “Our toughest opponent is ourselves. Our goal for this week will be the same thing. We’ve got to defeat the other team and not defeat ourselves.”

The Saints (3-3, 1-3 6A Region 4) can still do one thing very well – they can rush the quarterback.

The Saints’ defense has terrorized opponents’ backfield all year long with no signs of slowing.

The team’s three defensive leaders – seniors Tobias Wilson and Deundre Benjamin and freshman Dexter Blackmon – have combined for 31 1/2 sacks. Benjamin has 17 by himself.

“Of all the guys I’ve coached on the high school level, he’s probably the most advanced at this point,” Selma defensive coordinator Walter Highsmith said of Benjamin.

It’s a safe bet Benjamin and the gang are licking their chops right about now.

Wetumpka (2-3, 1-3), the Saints’ opponent this Friday, relies heavily on the passing game.

For a unit that basically kept the team in ball games early this year, playing pass-heavy offenses in the final stretch of the season represents a chance to dominate.

“This a very young group, and you can probably tell that sometimes just by looking at us,” Wilson said. “But the guys are coming around now. We’re looking at this as a chance to put the team on our backs.”

Montgomery said in order to be more efficient, the team will have to give more help to its young quarterback, Justin Brown.

The team has often experimented with lining starting running back Mike Miller up directly behind center. The move has worked with a lot of success, and fans may see more of it.

“We’re going to try to slide Mike in here and there,” said Montgomery. “We have to try not to put (Brown) in a situation where he’s got to be a playmaker. He’s not there yet. This is the first time he’s played any type pf varsity athletics.”

Some might think the Saints were devastated by the loss last week considering all the hype surrounding homecoming.

But they don’t really see it like that. There’s still a playoff spot to grab, so they don’t really have time to worry about past losses.

“Any loss is tough; they all equate out to the same thing to me,” Montgomery said. “An ‘L’ is an ‘L’ just like a win is a win. I’d be just as excited about beating Prattville as I would about beating Southside.

“People tend to treat wins and losses as if they’re different. They’re roughly the same. You just need to do one more than the other.”