New Offense Befuddles Defensive Strategy

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An innovation that has the potential to change the game of high school football could be unveiled this season.

It's called the A-11 offense, and it has its origins last season at Piedmont High School in California.

Proponents of the A-11 say it is fun, refreshing and safer than traditional offenses such as the Wing T or power option.

After watching a film of Piedmont High School run the A-11, I'd say it definitely could drive defensive coordinators wacky, and might be difficult to officiate.

Here's why.

The A-11 features all 11 players wearing an eligible receiver number. Which means there will be no more jersey numbers 50 to 79. All players will wear either 1 to 49 or 80 to 99.

In the new "O", there will be two quarterbacks in the shotgun formation seven yards off the line of scrimmage and no one under center.

Which means, it meets the prep rulebook criteria for a kick formation.

The A-11 has a center and tight end or "Y' on each side and three wide receivers to the right, and left, respectively. The potentially eligible receivers are spread from sideline to sideline.

Which means, if PHS defensive coordinator Kenny Hayes' bandits see the A-11 this year, they must cover every possible receiver on each play.

Of course, on any play only six of those players are eligible to go downfield for a pass but figuring out which players are eligible and the five covered players that are ineligible could be a spur of the moment challenge for a 17-year-old.

If Hayes' players are forced to defend the A-11, they might play a lot of zone, especially cover 2, and try to let the eligible receivers run to the defenders.

What the A-11 does that is totally innovative is that it allows up to 11 players to become potential pass receiving threats.

California coaches who use the A-11 say the "O" captures the attention of all the players because they know that could potentially score a touchdown and are not limited to only blocking as guards, tackles and centers are restricted to in traditional offenses.

The coaches also say the A-11 negates the size advantage that larger schools almost always have over smaller schools.

Payson High School coach Josh Anderson has indicated he doesn't think much of the new offense and he and Hayes have plans in place in case the Horns see it this season.

Rumors exist that the Snowflake Lobos are practicing the A-11.

Also there are some high school officials indicating that there could be rule changes next season that would disallow the A-11.

Whatever the future of the offense, it has captured the attention of coaches, administrators, officials and players.

Gearing up for the challenge

Payson's annual half marathon and 5K, the Rim Country Challenge, will be held Saturday, Oct. 4. This year it will feature a relay team option as well as a young athlete fun run.

Proceeds from the event benefit Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.

All races start and finish at Payson's scenic Green Valley Park. The half marathon and relay begins at 8 a.m., the 5K begins at 8:15 a.m. and the young athletes' fun run begins at 9 a.m. Officials say, the half marathon course is hilly and provides a challenging route throughout scenic areas of Payson.

At last year's run, Scott Griffin of Leadville, Colo. took the gold in 1:42, overcoming runner-up Karen Doonmoyer on the downside of Airport Hill.

The 5K course is less difficult and weaves throughout Payson neighborhoods.

In 2007,Chris Standage won in 19:39. Payson High School cross-country team member David Knauer was second. Among the women 5K entries, Madelyn Champlin claimed first in 23:02.

This year, awards will again be given to the first overall male and female finishers of the marathon and 5K. Awards will also be given to the first three male and female finishers in each age division and certificates will be given to all young athlete participants.

Registration is open through Sept. 26, with late registration available 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on race day.

Entry fees are $40 for the half marathon, $20 for the 5K, $120 per team for the relay teams and $10 for the young athletes' fun run for those who register by Sept. 26.

For more race information and to register go to: www.rimcountrychallenge.com

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