Ask Bishop England football coach John Cantey about his football team and he'll get defensive -- for good reason.
The Bishops are 10-1 and aiming for a Division II-AA state championship, and a big reason for the team's success is defense.
Marion travels to Jack Cantey Stadium today and will attempt to solve a defense that surrenders only 152 total yards per game and has five shutouts to its credit. The Bishops have allowed only 78 points all season, including 35 against Hanahan.
The Bishops' defense has been strong all year. But it has been exceptional the past three weeks.
On Oct. 21, the Bishops stunned Timberland, 17-3, holding the Wolves to 125 yards and five first downs. Timberland has scored at least 34 points in the rest of its games.
The following week, Bishop England beat Andrews, 28-0, holding the Yellow Jackets to 132 yards and six touchdowns..
Last week, the Bishops shut out Barnwell, 27-0. They held the Warhorses to 85 yards and six first downs.
"I thought we'd be good on defense, but not this good," said Cantey, who is in his fourth year at the helm of the Bishops. "We had some quality teams on our schedule, and I thought we would have a tough time of holding them down. The leadership and experience have carried over more than I thought it would. Having that experience is a big plus."
So is having talent. It all starts up front with linemen Matt Shiver, Brendan Quigley and Griffie Loy. The trio disrupts the opposition's wall of protection, freeing up inside linebackers Cameron Swails and Zach Richter to make tackles. Swails, a three-year starter, has responded with a team-high 115 stops, including 10 for a loss.
The Bishops are also opportunistic on defense, forcing 36 turnovers.
"We don't emphasize shutouts," Cantey said. "We emphasize the little things. If you take care of the little things, bigger things will happen."
Marion (7-4) presents a challenge with a running attack that features two players who have topped the 1,000-yard mark. Keyonta Foxworth has carried 126 times for 1,374 yards and 17 scores, while Lue Clemmons has carried 142 times for 1,135 yards and nine scores.
"They just run over people," Cantey said. "They scored at least 40 points in each of their last three games."
The Swamp Foxes enter with four victories in their last five games. The only loss in the stretch was 49-0 to No. 1 Dillon.
Follow Phil Bowman on Twitter at @pandcphil.