Football: New Salem-Almont’s defense a difference maker in historic season

Local Sports

A perfect season is what’s on the line every week until November 12 for the New Salem-Almont Holsteins, a team searching for its first state title in 35 years.

“There’s no room for complacency, because once you’re in the playoffs every game is a challenge so you’re getting the best of what the other team has to bring and you have to bring your best every game,” Holsteins head coach Steve Kleinjan said. “So there’s no room for coming out flat or not being ready to play.”

Head Coach Steve Kleinjan says slow starts have been the Holsteins’ kryptonite this year, but they have been able to finish games winning by an average margin of nearly 26 points. A big part of that has been their lock down defense.

“In 9-man defensively I think those are key things is that you have to have kids that read, react and then finish well and tackle well,” Kleinjan explained. “I think that they’ve worked very hard to get themselves in those positions. They do well with their alignment, their assignment and they understand their responsibilities, and for the most part they execute that.”

The Holsteins are giving up just 14.5 points per game, and it’s not just one man doing the work.

“Our line has been doing a really really good job on defense,” linebacker Ty Wolding said. “They get in their gaps and they wait for that. Our linebackers feel the holes pretty good, we keep our contain normally. Our d-backs, we have pretty good defensive backs, so they can go for the ball. They jump for it, they’re physical in the air.”

With the defense leading the way the Holsteins hope to ride their home field advantage all the way to the Fargo Dome.

“We normally pick it up a notch just because it’s our field,” Wolding said. “We don’t want someone else to come here and take that away from us. We want to bring it up another notch and we really want to give it our all here.”

The Holsteins host Mott-Regent-New England this Saturday for the second round of the playoffs.

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