Burg’s Black Plague defense up for Williamsburg challenge

Before taking over as football coach at his alma mater, Mechanicsburg High School’s Kurt Forrest led the Indians to the school’s first playoff appearance in 1999 as a senior quarterback.

But even Forrest, as confident as they come, isn’t optimistic about how he would have fared against the 2015 Indians’ defense, dubbed the Black Plague when they wear their black jerseys.

“I was too slow and not accurate enough to score on this defense,” Forrest said. “I might have been able to outsmart them once or twice.”

Opposing offenses have put up some sickly numbers against the Black Plague.

The Indians have allowed 42 points through 10 games. In contrast, the Indians scored that many points in their first game and have scored 43 or more in eight of 10.

Opponents average 3.3 yards per play (to Mechanicsburg’s 10.4).

Opponents average 156 yards per game (415 for Mechanicsburg) and have rushed for 804 yards total (2,684 for Mechanicsburg).

“It’s given us a lot of confidence,” senior nose tackle Jacob Bowers said of the defensive effort. “If the offense is struggling we can rely on the defense to shut them down.”

The challenge Saturday at 7 p.m. is stopping Williamsburg’s Wing-T offense in the Division VI, Region 22 playoffs. This is the first time Mechanicsburg, 10-0 and seeded No. 2 in the region, has faced a pure Wing-T offense. No. 7 Williamsburg (8-2) has used it to produce a pair of 1,000-yard rushers.

“That’s going to be a cool challenge,” senior cornerback Colton McMannis said. “It’s going to be up to our line to shut them down and make sure they don’t run north or south. Make them run east and west so we can get to the ball and tackle.”

That hasn’t been a problem so far. Six teams have scored on Mechanicsburg. No team has scored more than eight points. Williamsburg averages 34.

“I don’t know if we expected that, but we expected to do our jobs and do it to the best of our ability,” senior free safety Wade Smiddy said.

And it started in last season’s first round of the playoffs. Moments after Mechanicsburg lost by six inches on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to eventual state champion Minster, the Indians forged the phrase for this year’s team: Leave No Doubt.

“I think we’ve left no doubt this season what we can do,” senior nose tackle Michael Knapp said.

A 43-8 win against West Jefferson gave Mechanicsburg a boost, but it was a 44-0 win against Ohio Heritage Conference rival West Liberty-Salem — the No. 5 seed in Region 22 — that told the Indians how good they can be.

“After West Liberty-Salem we knew we had something special,” senior cornerback Bobby Welch said. “Everyone is doing their job and that’s what it comes down to.”

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