Nobody believed Dave Fennewald when he said it. The statement didn't fit with the players on the field, and the talk coming into the season, but he wholeheartedly believed it.
Led by senior Ty Redington, Mulvane's offense got all the headlines but he said the defense is the heart beat of the team, and they proved it with a 15-0 shutout over Buhler.
"We have 10 seniors on defense and their one goal is to keep advancing their season, week after week," Fennewald said. "Give credit to coach Scott Swaney, he does a great job with game plans - the kids really believe in what he does."
It was the second straight shutout in the playoffs for Mulvane (11-1), third in the last four weeks. They beat Clearwater in week nine, 39-0.
The win over Buhler sets up a really interesting matchup next week with Holton, who came back on McPherson Friday night, winning 31-27.
The heavy wind looked like it would change the game plan for the high-flying Mulvane offense but they came out firing and passing, getting inside the red zone on their first possession. Buhler's defense stood firm and kept Mulvane out of the end zone, settling for a 29-yard field goal from Trevor Wayman. Mulvane led 3-0 in the first quarter. That was all the scoring for the first half. A defensive battle unfolded as neither team would give ground but neither team could finish drives.
Whatever Fennewald said at in the locker rooms for Mulvane, it worked.
The Wildcats got great field position to start the third quarter, and they capitalized finally. Redington found Nolan Smith for a 27-yard touchdown pass and the Wildcats took a 9-0 lead, after the missed extra point.
"We really felt if we could get one more score that 10 points would probably be enough to win the game, the way the defense was playing," Fennewald said. "Put in our offense and give us one more score, and they won't get in twice. And thankfully our offense came out in that rhythm."
And then the defense stepped up, again. They stripped Buhler quarterback Luke Berblinger on the next possession, giving the ball back in to Mulvane on their own 21-yard line. Next play - Wildcat touchdown from Redington to Collin Dempsey. Defensive pass interference in the end zone caused some confusion before the crowd erupted and Mulvane had a 15-0 lead.
From there, the defense again stepped up. Riley Allen and company couldn't get anything tangible going against the home team and end their season at 8-4.