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Walton to lead Newton Falls’ defensive push

August 23, 2013
By JOHN VARGO - Tribune Chronicle (jvargo@tribtoday.com) , Underthelights

NEWTON FALLS - Derek Walton is fully aware of Newton Falls' defensive deficiencies last season.

This season, he doesn't want a repeat performance.

The Tigers gave up 45 points per game.

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Derek Walton

"I'm looking for our team to come together," the 5-foot-10, 185-pound linebacker said. "It's about alignment and assignment this year. What we want to do is know our positions and roles, see where they fill in to help out the guy next to you. ...

"We can't give up so many points like last year. I want to make plays. Everybody knows their alignment, assignment and do their job."

Newton Falls coach Jon Culp agrees with Walton, who had 73 tackles, six tackles for loss, three blocked kicks, two fumble recoveries and one pass break up.

"We have to stop people and get the ball back," Culp said. "We gave up a lot of points last year. We have to be assignment sharp. That was part of our breakdown last year. We just didn't do our assignment. When we did things that weren't in the scheme, then things broke down."

Culp said Walton has the intensity to lead this year's defensive push.

"He's a high-intensity kid," Culp said of his linebacker, who carries a 4.0 GPA. "He's very intelligent. When you put those two things together, he brings it. He doesn't care. He brings it every time."

Walton loves closing in on the opponent's quarterback.

"It's a rush. I really want to make the play. That's when you have to focus in and make sure you follow through," he said.

Making proper tackles are essential as well.

"You don't want them to juke you, so you got to get low base and whatnot," Walton said. "You have to settle your feet and make sure hit, wrap up and bring them to the ground."

He admits he needs some improvement as well.

"I need an understanding of the offense," Walton said. "I think I need to break down film a little bit more. I need to know the positions around me, so I can help them out. Personally, I want to make some more tackles."

He also gets the respect of the underclassmen.

"A lot of our younger kids look up to him and try to work toward what he's doing," Culp said.

This year, Newton Falls is simply trying to improve on defense.

"We have to stop people and get the ball back," Culp said. "We gave up a lot of points last year. We have to be assignment sharp. That was part of our breakdown last year. We just didn't do our assignment. When we did things that weren't in the scheme, then things broke down."