Forrest Murphy/WD Sports

The Millsap Bulldogs’ defense is coming off a week four performance which saw the unit hold Henrietta to seven points while notching a trio of turnovers. Millsap hosts the Santo Wildcats at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Having won three of their first four games, the Millsap Bulldogs (3-1) are looking to close out non-district play on a high note when the team hosts the Santo Wildcats (3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium.

Millsap enters its matchup with Santo under vastly different circumstances than those of 2018, when the former entered week five with an 81-71 point differential and 1-3 record.

In contrast, the Bulldogs have rolled early in 2019, putting up a combined 102 points to their opponents’ 47 (Hamilton, Callisburg, Palmer, Henrietta), while opening the year with back-to-back wins.

However, Millsap’s players understand the importance of remaining grounded ahead of Friday, Head Coach Jake Johnson said.

“Our confidence and energy are high,” Johnson said.

“But every day we remind ourselves to take it one play at a time. We focus on doing our job, and doing it to the best of our abilities. We have to stay locked in defensively and play selfless football.”

The Bulldogs’ defense has certainly looked locked in through the season’s first four weeks, holding three opponents to single-digit scoring (including a shutout in week two).

That kind of performance will likely play a pivotal role against a Santo squad which put up 53 points in its first game, as well as 122 points in total through four weeks.

On the offensive side, Millsap has done well spreading the ball around to its playmakers, with five Bulldogs getting touches in the ground game and another four hauling in at least once catch last week against Henrietta. 

Johnson said that kind of ball distribution is not necessarily as big a focus as simply finding the best possible approach each play to exploit opposing defenses.

“It’s about discipline and everyone doing their job,” Johnson said.

“We are not as concerned about who touches the ball, we focus on how well we execute the play. Everyone executing their job on a given play allows for someone to make a play with the ball. That’s what we strive for.”

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