KNOXVILLE — Two red-zone stands in the third quarter by the Webb School defense, forcing Ensworth to give up possession on downs then forcing a fumble into the end zone the Spartans recovered, kept things close in Meske Stadium last Friday.
But this Division II-AAA powerhouse from Nashville used a critical defensive stand of its own early in the fourth quarter, then relied on its power running game and superior line size for a pair of late touchdown marches in a 35-14 victory Sept. 1.
“They’re one of the top, premier programs in the state of Tennessee — but so are we,” said Dave Meske, head coach of the Division II-AA powerhouse Spartans. “We had chances to do some things and win a football game, we just didn’t get it done.
“Our effort was tremendous in every place on the field. Our kids played hard,” added Meske after Webb fell to 1-1. “We went for it. We had nothing to lose.
“I’m proud of them.”
Perhaps the most important factor, according to Meske: “it made us a better football team. In the long run we’re going to be a better football team because we played Ensworth [3-0].”
A 4-yard touchdown run by junior Roderick Lewis and a 50-yard TD scamper by junior Jahlil Jefferson — both in the first half — accounted for Webb’s points.
“Losses always make you stronger, especially if you’re a team that’s disciplined and as close-knit as we are,” said Morgan Ernst, Spartans senior star running back/linebacker. “It was tough, losing’s always tough, but we’ve just got to bounce back from it.”
Specifically, “We’ve just got to hunker down on defense, that’s the biggest thing,” Ernst added. “Work on everything in practice and get better.”
Meske said playing Ensworth fits a pattern of “scheduling a couple of tough teams” outside of the Spartans’ region each season. “We always have. And in the end, those games have always made us a better football team.”