Parkland Press

Saturday, October 19, 2019

A wealth of skill players makes the read-option perfect for PHS

Thursday, November 14, 2013 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in HS Sports

The read-option offense in football has made its mark at the collegiate and professional levels, and is now being utilized in the high school ranks too.

This type of offense entails getting the ball in the hands of the team's playmakers often, giving the quarterback a vast majority of freedom, and using a no-huddle approach that results in team's scoring at a high-rate.

In the Lehigh Valley Conference, no team is running the read-option offense as efficient as Parkland.

"We kind of morphed into it," head coach Jim Morgans said. "We started out with Robbie Dvoracek and those guys. We lined up in shotgun. Actually what we ended up doing was playing a lot of wildcat stuff with Robbie and Jarel Elder.

"Then we fully committed to the spread. And we do it because of the kids we have. This fits our personnel perfectly."

Leading the league's top scoring team is quarterback Devante Cross. As the read-option generally requires a quarterback that can both throw the ball down the field and run the ball, Cross is the prototypical candidate in shotgun.

Cross, who is second on the team with 759 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores, has been given control of this offense.

"It's a great offense," Cross said. "It gives you multiple options in one play, so it keeps the defense on their feet, and they're always guessing what we're going to do next."

While Cross has made a number of plays with his legs all season, it was his throwing that opened up a quick two-touchdown lead for the Trojans. Cross threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns against the Mounties, bringing his season total to 769 passing yards and eight scores.

"It just adds another option to our offense," Cross said. "It gives defenses another problem to deal with. We have some great athletes and receivers."

Cross isn't the only playmaker on the Trojans' offense. The skilled positions are filled with athletes that continue to thrive in the open field and benefit in this offensive scheme.

Kareem Williams, the LVC's second-leading rusher during the regular season, has been responsible for a bulk of the Trojans' carries.

His combination of size, strength and speed has been key in Williams accounting for 1,293 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns on the season. He ran for 111 yards and three scores on 17 carries against the Mounties.

"It's weird because you don't know if you're getting the ball or not," Williams said. "You just really read it, and whatever Devante tells me to do, I do.

"In almost every game, I'm a little bit nervous because I don't know what's happening. As the games go on, it always feels better to get touches."

On the outside, Eli Redmond and Jarey Elder can find the end zone on any give play. Each of them did it in the first quarter against the Mounties.

Elder, who caught four passes for 83 yards-used his speed to get behind the Mounties' secondary to score on a 66-yard catch-and-run from Cross on the game's third play. On the Trojans' second drive, Redmond (eight catches for 73 yards) took a bubble-screen pass from Cross 36 yards for the score.

"It's nice having Eli in the game with Kareem in the game also," Morgans said. "Eli is a heck of a receiver. We're going to give Eli some touches also in the backfield."

Running an up-tempo offense like the read-option often results in team's scoring quickly. The Trojans certainly have had their share of quick scoring drives all season.

On Friday night against the Mounties, the Trojans scores on three of their four first quarter possessions. In each of those scoring drives, the Trojans scored in three plays or less, and each drive took less than two minutes.

"We're a team, and we all play together," Cross said. "Our offensive line does a great job, and we wouldn't be anything without them. We give them a lot of credit."