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Behind the Spotlight: Rymer, Cross, Smith lead defensively

By JUSTIN WHITMORE & MICHAEL KEREKES

NATCHEZ — Pads were popping and bodies were flying Friday night when Cathedral School met No. 1 Bogue Chitto on the football field of D’Evereux Stadium.

The Green Wave struggled to get much of anything going offensively against a tough Bobcats’ defense, and Bogue Chitto managed to get a couple of big plays on offense and wear down the Green Wave for a 25-0 win.

Cathedral head coach Ron Rushing said he was proud of how his defense played in the physical contest, and junior linebacker Matthew Rymer was the ringleader of the hit parade.

“He plays all out on defense,” Rushing said.

Rymer provides toughness to the Green Wave defense, Rushing said, and he always manages to be around the ball.

Rymer finished Friday’s game with five solo tackles, seven assists and two tackles for loss.

“I make tackles. That’s all I do,” Rymer said.

Rymer also served as a leader on the field and the sideline Friday as Bogue Chitto started to pull away. He was encouraging all of his teammates to stay focused and keep playing until the end.

“You know you are down, but you have to keep your head up,” Rymer said. “You can’t get down. You have to play 100 percent until the last whistle.”

Overall, Rymer said he thought Cathedral’s defense performed well, but it needed to be near perfect against a good Bogue Chitto offense.

“Our defense is good,” he said. “We played solid, but we made a couple of mistakes to give them the lead early.”

Rymer took the brunt of several of the biggest hits on the field Friday night, but each time he shook it off and threw himself back in the mix again. He said his mentality on the football field allows him to continue to take — and give — the punishment.

“I just love the game,” he said. “I love football.”

Trinity Episcopal

Caleb Cross may be best known as one of Trinity’s backup running back on offense, but he’s making his presence known on defense for the Saints.

Despite a 20-14 loss to Oak Forest Academy Friday night, Trinity head coach Josh Loy said Cross, a linebacker on defense, is one of the Saints’ more noticeable standouts on that side of the ball.

“Caleb Cross is continuing to play great for us on defense,” Loy said. “Every week, he keeps making plays for us.”

Loy also said defensive lineman Carter Smith had a strong game fighting inside the trenches.

“I thought Carter Smith played one of his better games on defense,” Loy said.