However, many feel what makes Griffin dangerous is its defense. The unit has held teams to 14 points per game this season. The Bears had two shutouts during the regular season (40-0 over Forest Park and 27-0 over Jonesboro) and added another last week - 26-0 against Glenn Hills - in the opening round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
It was Griffin’s first home playoff shutout since Nov. 2005 against the Sandy Creek Patriots (30-0). Jonesboro head coach Clint Satterfield said after their October 24 contest that the Bears were “very physical.”
The catalyst for Griffin’s relentless defense is the Bears defensive line, anchored by senior defensive end Telvin Nash.
Nash is second on the defensive line in total tackles with 55, but leads the d-line with 10 tackles for loss this year.
“My goal at the beginning of the season was to come out and be unblockable,” Nash said. “I put it in my mind that nobody can block me this year.”
Nobody can block Nash on special teams as well - he doubles as the team’s punter and kicker.
“Punting is something else I do to help the team out,” he said. “I do what I have to do to help us win.”
Sophomore defensive lineman Kent Yarbrough leads the entire D-line in tackles with 68, including five sacks which is second on the team. Yarbrough started out as a linebacker but Bears defensive coordinator Rusty Easom asked him to switch.
“Coach Easom came up to me and said he needed me to go from linebacker to the defensive line and step up at that spot,” Yarbrough said. “The key to a good defense is up front with the D-line. We have to make plays.”
Senior Torious Starr transferred to Griffin from Jonesboro and backs up Nash and Yarbrough on the defensive line. He enjoys playing with the guys in front of him.
“It’s great playing with the guys on the D-line here. They are leaders and they have taught me a lot this year, especially since I played my whole career in football as a linebacker,” Starr said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Sophomore Xzavier Dickson has 54 total tackles and leads the linemen with seven sacks, including two against Dutchtown to preserve a 27-22 victory over them last month.
“When I’m lining up, I think to myself that I can’t let these guys on offense beat me,” Dickson said.
The defensive linemen all believe that if they bring their “A” game, it will be hard for their next opponent, the Brunswick Pirates, to defeat them.
“We just have to remember what our line coach says: Keep your feet moving, stay low and keep a flat back,” Starr said. “If we do that, we’ll be straight.”