I’m seeing a lot of high scoring high school football games of late which tells me kids are not being trained to block and tackle, necessary fundamentals of football.
Fancy ball running coaches thinking of new trick plays to score, all unnecessary in my opinion.
I played, or sat on the bench mostly for the legendary Laurel Bulldog Coach George Schollenberger. A very successful coach who could lay claim to sending two players to the pros, Ron Waller of the LA Rams, and Carlton Elliott of the Green Bay Packers.
He was elected to the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, coaching football, basketball, and baseball, all with winning teams, and later served as the schools first athletic director.
His coaching method was simple; he use to say, “All you need to do is put 6 points on the score board and the defense should hold the opposition scoreless.” And for many years his teams did just that. Teams so powerful he had to schedule games out of state because many of the schools in the county wouldn’t play against his teams. This was before conferences.
What fancy plays did he run; a play called “Laurel in bunches around the end”, where the guards pulled and blocked the ends so the backs could break loose into the secondary where their had better be another guard or tackle blocking them. That play was a Ron Waller specialty; with his speed, once he got to the outside he was gone.
His team rarely threw a pass, it was all blocking and tackling on the defense. You tackled through a person, not at them. Everyone who scouted or played Laurel knew what plays they were going to run, maybe 3-4 different ones each game, but his players knew how to execute their assignments.
Mondays and Tuesdays practice was devoted to learning how to block, tackle and run plays. Wednesday was a hard hitting scrimmage with the first and second teams, no holds barred. Thursday was a night light practice.
He did not believe in platooning; you played the entire game, offense and defense, and rarely did he substitute unless he had a safe lead; rarely did they kick for extra points running in for the extra point, and I never saw a field goal attempt, maybe in later years.
Delmar coach Hearn is similar to Schollenberger in that he has used the same plays year after year, but his team is well prepared and trained in the fundamentals, and have been able to hold their own against the larger schools.
It’s not always the size of the kids that count, or how many you have on the squad, if they can’t open those holes, hit that key block, the backs no matter their speed, are grounded. And if they can’t tackle or learn how to crack open an offensive line, then the opposing team will run all over them.
And don’t kid yourself; Winning IS everything!