Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Power Of The A-11 Offense

Last Friday night our Piedmont team faced Samuel Hancock a new football powerhouse from Stockton, which was loaded with more talent than we have seen at the high school level in 23 years of coaching. They had 4 amazing running backs and two huge linebackers that are all headed for full ride D1 scholarships. On the line we were outweighed by over 60 pounds a man. The team Samuel Hancock played a week earlier was so thoroughly wiped out, they were only able to manage a sole first down on offense towards the end of the game.

In the first half our team traded punch after punch with Hancock. Their offense broke huge plays on our defense and we kept them off balance with a dizzying array of A-11 execution. Their 6-5 260 pound middle linebacker landed a thundering one armed club tackle on our quarterback that was something out of a movie. Our quarterback came right back and stung their defense with a perfectly placed fade for 40 yards. With a few minutes left in the half, we brought down the house with a perfectly executed double pass for a touchdown that put us up 27-20. Hancock came back and scored a quick touchdown to tie it up and cap one of the most exciting halves of football ever played at Piedmont.

We knew the challenge we were up against the previous Saturday upon looking at the film of Samuel Hancock and there was nothing we could do except prepare for a brutal football game and “believe we could win”. That was our mantra the entire week of practice as we upped the toughness of hitting drills and intensity of our scrimmage sessions. We kept the pressure on the kids and demanded quick execution as we installed our “Einstein” no-huddle tempo. Our players rose to the occasion and as we left the locker room to hit the field every player believed we could win.

That belief continued even as Hancock built a 21 point lead in the 3rd quarter. Our players kept executing our A-11 offense and put their defense on their heels. Our kids never believed we were out of it and hit another fade to cut the Hancock lead to 34-48. After scoring their final touchdown to make the score 61-34, Hancock was preparing to kick off. There was only 2:18 left in the game and what was amazing at that moment was our players could hardly wait to get back on the field and run more plays against their defense. Unfortunately we fumbled the kick-off and they ran the clock out to cap a great night for our team.

Some might ask, “a great night in a loss?” Absolutely. The fact we ran our A-11 offense with command and hung 34 points on a team loaded with that much talent was a huge victory for our team. Without our A-11 Offense, Hancock would have trounced our team in similar fashion to their previous opponent. Instead, our players kept taking the fight to the Hancock players and even though the score doesn’t reflect it, gained more confidence as a team as the game wore on. The fact a team can develop in such a positive manner in a losing effort is one of the great lessons that playing football can give young men. Piedmont is going to be very dangerous the rest of the season.

If anyone has a question about the value the A-11 Offense brings to the game of high school football, this game is a prime example of why the A-11 needs to stay. After watching this game and seeing how a physically outmatched team can keep it close against a superior opponent, there is no way anyone can justify their position that the A-11 is deceptive or a travesty of the game whatsoever. Would our detractors really prefer that a smaller and less talented team lose 80-0 with no first downs?

You can judge for yourself by watching the game in its entirety "on demand" for free at