MICHIGAN CITY — Royce Robinson Jr. and Ernest Frierson Jr. have a special relationship.
The Michigan City defensive tackles communicate without speaking on the field and create havoc for opposing offensive linemen.
“He pushes me every practice. He’s like my big brother,” Frierson, a junior, said.
The two let each other know about double teams and blocking assignments with a look or a nod.
“We just do what we do,” Robinson, a senior, said.
Frierson called it an “Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh situation," referring to the Rams' stellar defensive linemen.
“It’s like a race. We’re all trying to be better than each other and make plays,” Robinson added. “That’s our motto.”
The Wolves defensive line was in the Concord backfield frequently. Frierson, Robinson, and senior defensive ends Chase Triplett and Justin Wozniak stifled the Minutemen running game, holding it to minus-16 yards.
“It’s always a competition to see who gets there first,” Frierson said.
The Minutemen were only able to throw for 60 yards.
“It’s like an alley oop. I get a chance. I give it ‘Woz.’ (Frierson) gets a chance. We all see who gets the sack,” Robinson said.
Coach Phil Mason said the senior class, who were sophomores when this coaching staff first came around, has done a great job of mentoring the younger players.
The effect has been a 10-2 season and a second consecutive trip to the semistate.
“They’ve done a terrific job and bought into what we’re doing,” Mason said. “That’s what a program does.”
City’s defense will be tested by New Palestine in a Class 5A semistate Friday.
The Dragons (12-0) have a punishing running game, led by junior fullback Charlie Spegal. He’s run for almost 3,000 yards and broke the state record for single-season rushing touchdowns in the regional with 63.
“We know they’re undefeated and we know they’ve got a pretty good running back, but we’re going to shut them down,” Frierson said.
Senior quarterback Zach Neligh has 932 rushing yards and 13 scores.
“They haven’t played Michigan City,” Robinson said.