Sachse’s defense is expecting significant improvement in 2023, led by star defensive end Cheta Ofili.
The Mustangs are blessed with a talented team on the line of scrimmage and hope to vastly improve their ability to get stops with that group. For head coach Mark Behrens, he’s seen the most improvement this offseason from some of the players on the line of scrimmage.
“They’ve really taken to what we’re coaching them and worked at it this offseason,” Behrens said. “We got a lot of talent and a good group of young men. They’re going to be leaders on the team and they’re always trying to get better at what they do.”
The senior defensive end was one of the best in a long line of dominant defensive linemen in District 9-6A, finishing second-team all-district last season. Committed to Texas Tech for the class of 2024, Behrens is excited for Ofili to showcase his talents during his senior season.
“He’s come a long way as a football player,” Behrens said. “He was basically a B-team player as a freshman, but he’s put in a lot of work to get better and improved his speed, quickness and strength every year. Now he’s maturing as a football player and it sounds simple but it’s not. He’s worked at his craft and is reaping the rewards.”
The Mustangs graduated one senior overall from the varsity team, and that was starting defensive tackle and second-team all-district player Jaron Counts. He had 43 tackles and three sacks last season for the Mustangs’ defense but was a major part of the run defense with his size.
Stepping into those big spots on the defensive line are Travis Simpson and Cory Bennett. Both aren’t as big as Counts was at defensive tackle, but have different qualities that should help the team succeed.
“Travis has one of the quicker twitches I’ve seen for a defensive tackle,” Behrens said. “The good thing is we have that talent and depth. When we’ve had that opportunity and that type of depth, we’ve been pretty good defensively.”
Next to the tackles, Corey Walls will slot in at defensive end, the third returning starter for the Mustangs. Walls has been one of the top workers this offseason, and coach Behrens believes this group has what it takes to be the best defensive line in the district.
“He is working his tail off this summer and he is always trying to get better during workouts,” Behrens said. “The leadership he’s showing on the field is amazing compared to most juniors.”
With that group, the Mustangs have a great deal of talent to work with next season, but the younger players in the wings and hoping to earn reps make it even better. They’re led by defensive ends Nicco Wards and Aaron Esheku, a rising sophomore and junior respectively who hope to be impact players next season.
“I played defensive tackle, and I told the guys I couldn’t take as many snaps as they do today because how much of the game is throwing the ball and rushing the quarterback,” Behrens said. “So we have to be able to sub them in and out and give them the rest they need to be successful.”
The Mustangs are talented on the defensive line and believe they have what it takes to improve a defense that surrendered 36 points per game last season. They’ll get a chance to prove it starting Aug. 25.
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