It can be easy to get mesmerized by Delone Catholic's offense. The Squires have posted 40 points per game so far, keyed by a deep corps of tailbacks and a quarterback, Brett Smith, who has been nothing short of brilliant. Even for a program that typically produces prolific offensive numbers, this group appears supremely talented.
But a team cannot win -- most of the time, at least -- on offense alone. So what about the Squires defense?
A quick check of the numbers shows Delone has allowed 18.3 points per game. That's pretty good. Not great. But pretty good.
But when asked about his defense Thursday, Delone coach Steve Wiles said he was "very happy" with his unit's progress.
Let's take a closer look.
In their three games, Delone has allowed seven offensive touchdowns. (It also allowed a 87-yard kickoff return against York County Tech.) Three of those offensive scores have been on big plays: A 30-yard pass against New Oxford, and passes of 58 and 32 yards against Littlestown.
The Squires have also allowed an average of 210 yards per game so far. They held Littlestown's vaunted offense to 236, which isn't too bad.
So while opponents have hit a few big ones, Delone hasn't allowed many teams drive down their throat. Wiles saw that as a major plus.
The coach added that in both the Thunderbolts' touchdown passes last week, a defender was in excellent position. Littlestown quarterback Dustin Crouse just made a pair of perfect throws.
"We’ve been in position to make plays," Wiles said, "we just haven’t made plays."
Also worth considering: Of the Squires seven offensive touchdowns allowed, only three occurred in the first half, when a game was still in doubt.
Of course, a touchdown is a touchdown, regardless if it goes 99 yards or 1 yard. And this Delone defense isn't a polished product just yet. It will face another stiff test Friday, when York Suburban rolls into McSherrystown for a battle of Division III unbeatens. Delone hasn't seen a running game quite like the Trojans' yet.
But not matter how lights-out the Squires offense is, they're going to need stops if they want to win at the district level. And so far at least, the defense has shown the ability to develop into a solid unit.