The Cadets have some serious size and athleticism on their defensive line consisting of Terae "TJ" Baldwin (6'1 280), Joel "Big Bird" Starlings (6'4 305), Dylan "The Destroyer" Faniel (6'2 260), Jacob "Boo Boo" Moore (6'2 260), Zion "The Lion" Hunter (6'0 190), Kobi "Crusher" Onyiuke (6'3 220) and last but not least, Luca "Pooch" Puccinelli (6'7 235).
These men are the backbone of the Cadets defense and have held opponents to two scores or less since Week 3 against Friendship Collegiate Academy.
"I prepare myself for games by throwing my headphones on full volume then going outside and stretching," said Baldwin. He is a very laid-back and funny person, but when it is time to go to war, he is all business.
"I contribute to my team because I can play every position on the line and I trust that I can do serious damage from any spot," exclaimed Baldwin. Baldwin has not gotten off the field once this year on defense due to his versatility and effectiveness.
The main reason the Cadets defensive line is so dominating is because of their size on the interior line consisting of Baldwin and Starlings. The edge rushers with their hands in the ground are Faniel, Moore and Puccinelli. The stand-up defensive ends are Zion Hunter and Kobi Onyiuke.
All athletes trained by Nigel Williams, a man that possesses lots of wisdom, as he played for the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Buffalo Bills. Coach Williams's experience and ability to connect with the players makes him a great mentor. Having Coach Williams is a massive advantage for the Cadets, because not many other schools have a young, former NFL player as their position coach.
The greatest benefit of the defensive line at Benedictine is the depth. Most other schools have their defensive lineman playing both sides of the ball and gassing their players, but the key to Big Green's success has been that the Cadets have enough bodies to rotate people and keep their guys fresh. Essentially all of them play defense only, but Puccinelli plays H-back and Moore plays left guard as well as defensive tackle.
"I work hard in practice, everyday, all week, grind doesn't stop, and I drink lots of water," said Moore. Jacob has been a key part to his team's success as he is looked upon as the "Iron Man" on the team that never complains about injuries or soreness, never misses practice and never gives less than 100% effort.
Starlings, Faniel and Puccinelli all have Division 1 offers and are certainly productive and wreak havoc on the defense. Onyiuke and Hunter are speedy, hard-hitting athletes that contribute a lot to the team.
The state championship is on Saturday against Trinity Episcopal. The defensive line looks to have a big game and lead the Cadets to a big win.