By Cheval John
Reporter, Vallano Media
To win a football game, all three phases have to be in sync: defense, the kicking game, and the offense.
Most of the time, the special teams is overlooked because of the focus on the offense and how they generate a buzz and the defense.
Sam Houston State Bearkat coach Willie Fritz believes differently as he stresses on special teams and how it can either make or break a team.
In this case, it made the Bearkats as they were able to pull off a 44-10 dominating win over Northwestern State Demons.
"We work on our kicking game like crazy," Fritz said. "Coach (Robby) Discher does a very good job with those guys. They're big changes in field position."
Sam Houston had two blocked field goals by senior cornerback De'Antre Loche.
In the first quarter, the offense couldn't generate anything in their first three possesions.
That was where the defense came in as they were able to hold the Demons scoreless despite giving up some yards along the way.
Like anything, things always payoff in the end with hard work and it sure did for the defense when Mouf Adebo forced a fumble by Garrett Atzenweiler that allowed James DeLaRosa to recover it on Sam's own 35 yard line.
A few plays later, Luc Swimberghe made a 45-yard field goal to put the Bearkats up 3-0.
Even though Northwestern State tied it at 3 on a 42- yard field goal by Chris Moore, they had no idea of what was coming next.
They found out soon enough on their kick-off that landed in the hands of Keshawn Hill.
With tremendous blocking upfront, Hill casually jog his way across midfield and turned on the jets to returned it all the way to the Demons' 7 for 93 yards.
The next play, Timothy Flanders punched it in for the score along with the extra-point by Swimberghe that increased the Bearkat lead to 10-3.
"It gave us a lot of momentum," senior quarterback Brian Bell said. "I know that it was one of the biggest special teams play we had all year in the kick return game."
The Demons was attempting a 37-field after driving it all the way down to the Bearkat 19 on seven plays for 56 yards on their next possession.
However, senior cornerback De'Antre Loche blocked it that went out of the endzone for a touchback.
Sam Houston capitalized in their next possession when Bell found senior utility player Richard Sincere for 17-yard touchdown to increased the score to 17-3 after the point-extra.
The touchdown capped a 9 play, 80 yard drive.
"You can kind of look at the blocked field goal kind of like a turnover," Bell said. "That's points on the board they should have had that they didn't get a chance to get.
The Demons tried to cut before halftime when Moore was going for a 41-yard field goal after they drove all the way to the Bearkat 24 on 9 plays and 53 yards.
But Loche came through again with the blocked that kept it at 17-3 by halftime.
"That's points on the board they could have put up there," Loche said. "That's real crucial."
Loche hits the nail on the head because if the Demons had made those two field goals, they would have been down by 8 and would have felt confident about making it a game.
Instead, the Bearkats came out aggressive in the third quarter and scored again when Bell found a striding senior wide reciever Torrance Williams down the sideline for a 44-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.
That basically broke the hearts of the Demons and the Bearkats cruised to a 44-10 win.
The old saying goes, "Defense wins championships."
Maybe they should add that if you do well on defense, special teams and offense, you can win a football game.
It has worked for Sam Houston under coach Fritz.