The Bearden football team has boasted one of the strongest defensive squads in recent memory.
The Bulldogs have already posted three shutouts this year, and they’re allowing just 9.2 points per game.
Coach Morgan Shinlever looks at a variety of factors that go into the defense’s success, particularly on the defensive line.
“We are senior heavy, three out of the eight guys that are playing on a Friday are all seniors,” Coach Shinlever said. “Of those guys, seven of the eight are also guys that are running five-flat or sub-five-flat forties, so we can move pretty quickly.
“Then on top of that, we’ve got quite a bit of strength.”
Two members of that defensive group, senior defensive ends Shamarcus Brown and Condredge Holloway, have had significant success and work together to wreak havoc on offenses.
The defensive duo, along with the rest of the Bulldog football team (5-1, 1-1 Region 1-6A) will hit the road to take on Dobyns Bennett (2-3, 0-1) Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
Although this is Brown’s first year of high school football, he has taken what he has learned from his years of Bearden basketball and brought them with him onto the football field. Brown is leading the team in sacks with seven and is also second in tackles for a loss with 10.
Coach Shinlever has seen the benefit of Brown’s basketball experience.
“He’s able to get to the football quickly, he’s got a really good nose for it,” Coach Shinlever said. “His lateral movement has especially benefited him several times this season as well as his ability to explode and change directions.”
Holloway is grateful to have a teammate like Brown by his side.
“He’s a ball player I can trust and knowing he’s there makes my job easier,” Holloway said.
Holloway’s father is UT football legend Condredge Holloway, who started at quarterback for the Vols from 1972-1974; the younger Holloway is quick to praise his father for the support he gets, but he’s also having no trouble making a name for himself.
The senior is second on the team in sacks (three), third in tackles for a loss (nine), and fifth in total tackles (30).
“I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be and do whatever I can do to help us win games,” Holloway said. “I don’t have shoes to fill with my dad. He’s going to love and support me with whatever I do.”