Through the Uprights Mile Lavieri 9/29
By Mike Lavieri PrepsKC staff writer
Two very different styles of football were on display Friday night at David Jaynes Stadium in Bonner Springs.
The Braves like to run a spread-out, aggressive offense, whereas Lansing runs the Wing-T, an offense that isn’t sexy but is effective.
It’s no secret as to what the Braves do with Connor Byers under center, Marcell Holmes in the backfield and Michael Amayo, Hayden Hoffine, Jamison Jackson and Aaron McGee out wide. They can beat teams in the air with Byers’s arm, and they can beat teams on the ground.
Unlike most high school teams, which will run and run and run because they don’t have a prolific quarterback, Bonner Springs coach Lucas Aslin has that in Byers. Teams can’t cheat because Byers is savvy enough to recognize the defense and will make them pay.
Aslin has a similar philosophy to Pulaski Academy, Arkansas, coach Kevin Kelley. Kelley has gained some notoriety rarely punting and always onside kicking after a score.
Kelley is 77-17 with two state titles.
Aslin likes going for it on fourth down when he can, and has Kaleb Hightower squib kick after scores.
The reason is sometimes that additional down gives Byers a better opportunity to keep things going. The squib kick might me more dangerous than the onside kick, because if squared up properly, like it was on Friday, Hightower can hit it toward a blocking lineman, who doesn’t have the hands or speed to recover the ball, whereas the onside kick has a hands team on the field.
Lansing, however, wants to run it down teams’ throats. Lions’ coach John McCall has a game manager in Nick Redwine. He doesn’t do anything flashy, but he does the job he’s needed to do: Get the ball to Zack Schneider, Quinton McQuillan, Jalen Douglas, Henry Myrick and Steve Ray.
Schneider and McQuillan are listed as running backs, while Douglas, Myrick and Ray are listed as receivers.
With the Wing-T, positions don’t matter as much, because there is so much movement. McCall will send his receivers in motion, and they’ll run the ball just as frequently as Schneider or McQuillan.
The biggest thing that makes the Wing-T so effective is the deception. The formation is compact and the handoffs are quick, so defenses need to react quickly. But there are times when defenses key on the wrong player, and the one with the ball has a clear path to the end zone.
McCall likened Friday night to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 2 matchup against the Broncos. It was a back-and-forth game, and turnovers were costly. If Lansing can hang on to the ball and not give opposing teams more scoring chances, they’ll be a tough team to beat.
A rematch of these two teams in the postseason, when every nuance of the offense has been put in place, would be good for 5A football.
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