FORT SMITH (KFSM) - Defense wins championships. It's a mantra as old as time. And let’s just say Northside’s defense is playing pretty well.
"We’ve just been balling honestly and we’re trying to keep it up," senior Elijah Tabut said. "We’re just tight all around. We’re all ballers."
"I think we’re doing a great job just communicating with each other, having each other’s backs and just living it like we do," said fellow senior Greg Washington.
And that chemistry started by building a solid core that won a playoff game at Har-Ber last fall.
"We knew coming into this year that we’d have a good defensive football team," head coach Mike Falleur said. "A lot of those guys played last year as juniors so we had a lot of experience coming back."
"We’re in the offseason, I already knew cause everybody was putting in work and grinding, and the energy in the weight room," Tabut added. "I could honestly tell that we were gonna be something special."
The Grizzlies boast a nasty defense, tough both on the line and in the secondary. Take last week’s playoff debut. Northside limited Van Buren to 15 yards rushing. Which in turn, gives Deuce Wise and the offense the ball back in good field position.
"Oh my goodness it is the best reward you could ever ask for. You got a quarterback like that, you just wait for the fight song to play cause you know we're gonna score," Washington said.
It makes it a whole lot better on your offense when you know your defense is gonna go out there and most of the time, gonna get you the football back," said Falleur.
But Friday’s quarterfinal game at Bentonville is a different type of test. Northside hasn’t topped the Tigers since 2004, a streak of ten straight head to head games.