Photo/Zac Chamblee

Mount Olive’s herculean defensive performance last Friday against Salem was no mistake. All week long, the Pirates prepared to dominate the line of scrimmage and pick up their first win of the season, and it paid off.

By night’s end, Mount Olive’s defense had collected a whopping 14 quarterback sacks and two interceptions from Zyterrious Chatman. As a result, the Pirates cruised past Salem, 36-8, and improved to 1-6 on the year. 

“We had watched film a lot on them [Salem], and we knew pretty much what they were going to do,” said Mount Olive coach Dante Durr. “We had been preaching all week to come down here and be more aggressive. And the kids finally bought in to what we were trying to do. It showed in the outcome.”

It was a collective effort, so Mount Olive’s defense will share our Week 7 Sports601 Covington County Player of the Week honors. 

Stanley Ross led the Pirates in tackles with 13 and Quandarius Hubbard added 11. Deadrian Davis had a team-high four sacks and Marcus Baggett finished with three. And as previously mentioned, Zyterrious Chatman picked off two Salem passes. 

“We had been telling our defensive ends and tackles to not go into pass coverage and get to the quarterback,” explained Durr. “He [Chatman] had a knack for the ball, and that came from the pressure we were putting on the quarterback. He didn’t have the time to let the play develop, so he threw it up a couple times. I’m just glad our guys could come down with the ball.”

When the final buzzer sounded and Mount Olive finally made it into the win column, Durr says his players were both excited and relieved. 

“Now they see what we’re trying to teach them,” added Durr. “It’s working, so maybe they’ll keep buying in throughout the year and we can reach our goal for the year.”

That goal is the playoffs, and the Pirates took a positive step towards that against Salem in improving to 1-1 in Region 4-1A. Mount Olive will look to keep it rolling and pick up win No. 2 Friday night at Stringer (6-1).