Pittsfield/G-P Football: Defense key to winning formula - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Pittsfield/G-P Football: Defense key to winning formula

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The Saukees have put in extra work on the defensive side of the ball where they struggled in 2011. The Saukees have put in extra work on the defensive side of the ball where they struggled in 2011.

PITTSFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) -- Over the nine year stretch with head coach Don Bigley on the sidelines Pittsfield has been a consistent presence in the playoffs.

That fact alone gives strong evidence that the five total wins the last two seasons is more of a blip on the radar than a major cause for concern.

"We averaged 27 points a game last year and only won three games, so we spent much more time this summer working on our defense," Bigley said.

"That's what is really going to make the difference for us."

His players have received the message.

"Last year we had a really, really bad defense, a really poor defense," senior safety Zach Abney expressed.  

"This year we have picked it up."

Part of the struggles can be attributed to the restructured and loaded West Central Conference and Bigley hopes his team continues to evolve against high level competition.

"There were some good teams in the old West Central, but it wasn't an every week thing like it is now," Bigley mentioned.  

"We've got two years of these guys competing against them, so I do think it's going to make a difference."

Pittsfield's core group of seniors has much more confidence hitting the field this fall.

"We've all played in this conference since the beginning of our varsity time," said lineman Cade Hayden.  

"We're all accommodated to the competition and we're ready to step up and be in their league this year."

Senior lineman Buster McConnell added: "Our first year playing (in the revamped WCC), it just wasn't very good. They were very good competition, but at the end of last year we kind of slowed things down a little bit, and I think this year we'll be able to get it."

Like many teams in the conference the Saukees have also learned to prepare for bus trips to schools that are hours away.

"We're starting to get used to the long Saturday games and traveling really far," said senior lineman Austin Beard.

"I think this year we'll do a lot better."
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