It’s not every day the defending college football BCS National Champion comes knocking on the door of local players, so when it happens, word spreads pretty fast.
Such was the case when Woodbury standout Anthony Averett not only got attention from the University of Alabama last spring, but also got an offer.
Averett—a standout high school quarterback—was recruited for his speed, athleticism and ball-hawking skill at the cornerback position.
All of that and more was on display Friday night at West Deptford High School when Averett led the Thunder Herd against the Eagles in a Colonial Conference showdown. West Deptford not only won the game in convincing fashion—45-24—but also contained the versatile playmaker, who is a handful as the Herd’s quarterback.
By limiting Averett through the air and on the ground, the Eagles defense showed that it has the athletes to shut down just about anyone it comes up against.
“We knew that Averett would be a problem,” senior linebacker Josh Cornelius said. “We knew about his athleticism and how fast he was, and we knew we had to stop him. We went out there and got it done.”
Averett’s only big gain on the ground came on Woodbury’s first offensive play, and it was called back for a penalty. He still made plays here and there during the rest of the game, but was corralled enough where he was unable to take over the game.
“Don’t let him outside,” junior Gerald Owens said of the defensive approach. “We knew he was fast and we know everything about Alabama. We were mostly concerned about him getting outside, because we know he’s so fast.”
“It was a challenge,” said Shai Mumford, who recorded a sack. “The way he would shake and bake was a challenge and I just tried to get him down.”
The Eagles recorded four sacks on the night, but most importantly, kept containment, limiting the rushing lanes for Averett.
“Coach (Clyde) Folsom said that every time he has the ball its first and goal, whether it’s on our 1 yard line or the opposing 1 yard line,” Cornelius said. “We knew we would have to take him out of the game. We would have to read our guards and blow up the fullback and get to him. We had to hammer and hammer and hammer him. We tried our best to do it. He still had a flawless game.”
It should be noted that Folsom was wise enough to come up with an offensive gameplan that did not attack Averett. The Eagles—hardly a passing team to begin with—attempted just four passes, none in the particular direction of the Alabama recruit.
Just the experience of going up against one of the areas top players should go a long way in preparing the Eagles for big games ahead, including Saturday’s showdown with 2-0 Haddon Heights.
“The defense did a great job and continues to get better,” Folsom said. “Those guys know what it takes to get the job done.”