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      Dragon Slayers: Concord Triopia's Upset Magic put to ultimate test against Maroa-Forsyth


      They were dealt about as bad a playoff pairings hand as any small school team in the State of Illinois.

      For Concord Triopia to merely reach the 1A State Title Game, the Trojans would have to run an impossible gauntlet of traditional powerhouse schools who had dropped from Class 2A.

      And yet here they still two-thirds of the way to completing this impossible mission.

      Central A&M and LeRoy have been dispatched....which leaves the biggest dragon in the state left to slay.

      But for all the well-earned attention paid Maroa Forsyth right now...the Trojans aren't backing down.

      And why would they...with this defense.

      To view our profile on Triopia's State Semifinal, click on the above icon.

      {<}If you've kept a close eye on Triopia over the past 3 weeks, you may have noticed a gradual fine-tuning of Rich Thompson's defense.

      "Nothing that we've really changed with X's and O's, its just attitude and getting after it and wanting not to lose,"

      "We bend, we just don't break. If everybody does their job then the defense usually wins the game for us,"

      After a 49-nothing shutout of Mt. Olive and a 12 to 7 tug-of-war win over Central A&M, the Trojans most impressive defensive feat was last week against LeRoy. A team that had posted 78 points a week prior was held to a mere 20 at the hands of the boys in blue.

      "We just practiced hard to get low because all 3 of their running backs ran hard and low and were very good runners. We just practiced getting low and came in with a purpose to hit and wrap up,"

      "We were hitting their kids a lot of times at the line of scrimmage before they could get a lot of power going. They were a heck of an offensive unit but I thought we kept playing hard for 4 quarters, and to hold them to 20 points, I was pretty proud of that fact,"

      Though the Trojans certainly deserve one, there's no time for a pat on the back after LeRoy. The semifinal round presents a Maroa-Forsyth team that can thrive on the aerial game - just one more challenge to which this defense must adapt.

      "We really don't see a lot of passing during the regular season, and we haven't seen much at all during the playoffs, so we'll be changing gears a lot and try to confuse them with what we're doing and trying not to let them have too much,"

      "We know their quarterback and running back are pretty good, and they're just going to try to spread us out. They're going to both run and pass a lot, pretty much just spread us out in the field making sure we have to cover every area,"

      But above everything else, this team will have 2 major advantages in play on Saturday. One, a defense that's in the midst of a 6-week long performance spike. And two, the comfort of Don Kemp Field.

      "Its my favorite place to be,"

      "I don't remember the last time anyone from Triopia has lost at Don Kemp Field, 3 or 4 years ago I think. Its just a great home field advantage,"

      "It just seems like when our kids step on this field they have a little extra pop in their step and I'm sure we'll be that way on Saturday,"{>}