The Ardmore Tigers are 6-1 on the season and a big part of that start has been the play of the defense.
Ardmore nearly pitched a shutout against Chickasha (3-4) on Thursday in a 24-3 win at Noble Stadium.
It didn't take the long for the defense to make its mark on the game.
The Fightin' Chicks first drive was abruptly ended when Rontrey Burkhalter intercepted a Cade Morris pass.
"We talked all week about starting fast and that helped us start fast and set the tempo for the game," Ardmore coach Doug Wendel said.
Morris didn't put much on the throw and Burkhalter was able to jump the route and pick off the pass in full stride.
Chickasha's receiver didn't stand a chance against the speedy senior, who said he knew what was coming.
"I saw it coming, we practiced and practiced on it," Burkhalter said. "I knew the play before they did."
The interception was the second of the season for Burkhalter. His first came against Ada.
"He's a great player, a great safety," Wendel said. "We've got two great safeties, a great secondary and all the way around the fastest in the state. Best in the state as far as points (allowed) go."
The Tigers have soundly beaten Chickasha in the past, but they didn't get too confident against the Fightin' Chicks on Thursday.
"We keep on going, take every team as they are," Burkhalter said. "We don't underestimate a team at all."
Ardmore is on the brink of special season with a large contingent of seniors. Burkhalter said the experience on the team has provided a lift.
"We have a lot of seniors," Burkhalter said. :This year we care. The maturity level, senior leadership and everybody is giving their all."
Wendel bragged on his defense following Thursday's win. The unit has allowed just 56 points over seven games.
"The defense time and time again played well," Wendel said. "We made an adjustment after that first series. They got a couple plays on us, but after that first series we only gave up one pass play. A total, all-around effort by the defense."
The Tigers host Capitol Hill (1-6) on Friday at Noble Stadium.