Enderle sparks Chaffee's defensive effort

Saturday, September 27, 2008
Chaffee's Hunter Thomason tackles Scott City punter Chris Klinge after a bad snap during the third quarter Friday in Scott City. CHUCK WU cwu@semissourian.com

SCOTT CITY -- There are a few reasons why Cody Enderle shouldn't succeed in one of the most important positions on Chaffee's defense.

He's a sophomore playing middle linebacker. He's never played defense before, especially at the varsity level.

And he's blind in his left eye.

"It's amazing," Chaffee junior defensive end Daniel Lawson said. "He's playing really good, especially for a guy who is blind in one eye. As far as linebackers, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather have backing me up."

Enderle led the Chaffee defense with 13 tackles Friday night in the 28-6 win that spoiled Scott City's homecoming and gave the Red Devils two straight wins in the series after 21 consecutive losses.

Enderle had two huge plays -- one he called luck, and one that Chaffee coach Charlie Vickery recognized as a key point in the game.

Enderle forced the first of Scott City's seven turnovers by knocking the ball away from Scott City running back Caleb Gray in Chaffee territory in the first quarter.

"I missed the tackle, but I reached out and hit the ball," Enderle said. "That was luck."

Chaffee's offense followed it up with a 75-yard drive for the game's first score.

The Red Devils defense forced another turnover when lineman Garrett Warren knocked the ball away from Cody Page after the quarterback had run for a first down. Josh Niswonger recovered.

The Red Devils didn't convert there, but they did midway through the second period after a punt deflected off a Scott City player and was recovered by Jacob Atkinson. Aaron Horrell threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Collin Dannenmueller on the next play for a 14-0 lead.

Scott City also had a streak of turnovers in the second half, as four consecutive possessions ended with fumbles. Lawson recovered two of them, Hunter Thomason had one and Darren Lee the other.

One of Lawson's recoveries, off a bad punt snap, led to an 11-yard drive for Chaffee's third TD.

"It was like, 'They're scared of us,' and they just kept turning the ball over," Enderle said. "That's what I was thinking. Those turnovers changed the game a lot, for sure."

So, too, did a play late in the first half at Chaffee's 6-yard line, when Enderle blitzed on third-and-1 and brought down Josh Trapp for an 8-yard loss. Page threw an incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down, and Chaffee went into the half with its 14-0 lead.

"That was one of the big keys to the game, keeping them out of the end zone before the half," Vickery said.

Enderle's blitz was one of just two in the game for him, he said, as Chaffee made some adjustments from a 3-5 formation to a 4-4 with Lawson moving out of middle linebacker and back to a defensive end slot.

"It helps us have more push from the defensive ends and get more pressure on the quarterback," Lawson said.

Enderle nearly equaled his season total for tackles, after he had a previous best of seven last week in a win against St. Pius.

Enderle was born in Chaffee, but moved to Mooresville, N.C., at age of 3, as his father pursued his career as a NASCAR pit crew member. Enderle lost vision in his left eye around that time due to a parasite. The Enderles "traded racing for farming," Cody said, and returned to Chaffee in January.

In North Carolina, he was a junior varsity second string running back at a Class 4A school.

"I saw the field maybe three times last year," he said. "I wanted to get some playing time."

Even if it meant playing defense.

"He was a little bit leery about it," Vickery said, "but he's been improving each week."

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