The Garrison Bulldogs have quite the winning tradition with their football team. The Bulldogs proved that defense wins games.
As one of the top defensive teams in the state, they are coming off a season where they went undefeated in district.
This season, their district will be no walk in the park.
They lost their former coach, but the Bulldogs now have a familiar face sitting at the helm of their program and that same fire in their defense.
Lance Bernard started his coaching career at Garrison, and 15 years of coaching later, finds himself back to where it all started.
“It's something that just happened,” said Bernard. “It was a great move for my family, they've enjoyed being down here, and it's been good.”
Being back with a program that went 6-0 last year in district isn't the worse place to be, especially with a solid defense.
That solid defense allowed just seven points per game in district play last year.
They may have a new coach, but they're sticking to their old ways.
“We're going to be a defense-first team. We are going to try too at after our offense, but defense is where we are going to hang our hat at,” said Bernard.
One of their biggest defensive leaders is linebacker Michael Feaster, who recorded 153 tackles last season.
“He's a good guy to have returning, being our defensive leader. He'll play middle linebacker for us and we know he'll do a good job because he's already proven that,” said Bernard.
“Our defense has always been pretty strong. That's what wins football games is defense,” said Feaster. “We keep them out of the end zone and that will help us win. Garrison has always been pretty big on their defense and I think that's what we take pride on, is the defensive part of the game.”
That defense lost some seniors last season, but with six returners, Feaster said their defense isn't planning on slowing down.
“I think it will be about the same. I hope it improves little by little, every single week and game. I hope we get a little better,” said Feaster.
With a defense that can keep the ball down field, quarterback Andrew Russell said it gives the offense a major back bone to excel in their game as well.
“Any offense has to do their job and put points on the board, but it is very relaxing knowing if you do turn the ball over you have a very strong defense going straight back after it and getting it back to you,” said Russell.
The pressure of upholding a Bulldog winning tradition starts now.
“As long as we go out and play our game, I think that we can be the best in our district as long as we want to be,” said Feaster.