The Park View High School football team is known widely for its single-wing offense and the amount of points it scores. But Patriot junior cornerback Tim Murphy says more people should pay attention to the other side of the scoring column.
"We get no recognition," he said. "Defense is what wins you championships. So, yeah, I'd like to see us get more recognition. We've shown we can shut down anybody."
Indeed, Park View has held opponents to a measly 46 points this season, which is a school record.
The unlikeliness of their defensive stars also goes unnoticed. Murphy, junior Joey Weisen and senior Jonathan Petrie have combined to help the Patriots on defense--and all of them are an immense and pleasant surprise to their coaches.
Murphy, who transferred from Potomac Falls because he said he "didn't fit in" there, is second on the team with 62 first hits and 37 assists. Weisen--who also transferred from Potomac Falls, to be near his mother, Jan, a teacher at Park View--leads the team with 77 first hits and 54 assists. And Petrie, injured for most of last year and originally not expected to contribute much, has 51 first hits and 22 assists.
Weisen has helped solidify the linebacking corps. Murphy, according to Park View Coach Mickey Thompson, "brings a linebacker's mentality to the secondary." And Petrie, who is 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, has done a great job guarding against the sweep.
That's why coaches moved Petrie to defensive end, after playing him inside for most of last year.
"We needed a corner that can stop the sweep, that can rush the passer [and] get inside for us a bit," Thompson said. "I didn't expect any of what we're getting from [Petrie]. I thought he'd be a good player, but not an exceptional one. He's become an exceptional player."
"It was an easy adjustment, because basically what he said was that because of my speed and athleticism it was perfect for me," said Petrie, who has one sack and leads the team with three forced fumbles and six hurries. "They told me it was a position that was made for me."
Speed, in fact, is what Murphy said is the defense's strength. He has good reason to feel that way: He was a starting running back at Potomac Falls last year. For the Patriots he has rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries this season. And Thompson said he will be the starting fullback next year, replacing Nelson Stickley.
"From what I've been hearing, I would have been the leading running back [at Potomac Falls] this year," Murphy said. "I'd trade that for starting on defense in a state championship."