DALTON, Ga. There's a sense of pride that surrounds the Dalton Catamounts football program, and it's well-earned through decades of excellence.
If there's one thing that connects the teams of Alf Anderson, Bill Chappell, Ronnie McClurg and now Matt Land, it's a clear idea of how the team wants to win games.
The prep game, like college football, has seen an explosion of offense over the past 10 years, where spread offenses and up-tempo play-calling has led to football teams putting up points that would make basketball teams blush. Coaches are putting their best athletes on offense, beginning at the younger levels.
Not at Dalton, where power football still reigns and defense is not overlooked.
"We've always been a defense-first program," said Land, himself a prep and college defensive back. "Dalton has always prided itself on it, and this team is no different. It starts with our coaching staff. They've done a phenomenal job of breaking down film and putting our guys in the right place."
It's more than that, though. The great majority of Dalton players grow up knowing defense rules and being physical on a Friday night isn't optional.
"Yes, getting on the big-hit list is the best place to be on, in my ...