These are not your daddys football teams.
Back when they played, offenses were mostly built around running games with various formations to chose from. But year by year, the days of the three yards and a cloud of dust are dying out.
Teams are modernizing and most have advanced passing games.
At Northwestern, coach Kyle Richardson has built his team around the Air Raid offense. It produced a record-setting quarterback in Justin Worley, now a sophomore backup at Tennessee.
Junior Mason Rudolph, isnt breaking records but he has big numbers. Hes so good and so athletic at 6-foot-5, that LSU is among the teams that have offered him a scholarship.
When I was coaching at Southeastern Louisiana, only two teams in Division I football us and Texas Tech were using the Air Raid, Richardson said. Now there are least 10, and there are others who use a variation of it.
The five quarterbacks for Region 3-AAAA teams starting Fridays Class AAAA Division II playoffs have plenty of passing formations in their playbooks, but three have surpassed 2,000 yards.
South Pointe hosts Caner Bay, Easley comes to Northwestern, York travels to Laurens, Nation Ford goes to North Augusta and Fort Mill is at Greenwood.
Rudolph leads the way among area quarterbacks with 3,301 yards. Yorks Spencer Carroll is next with 2,221. Nation Fords Dalton Helms has thrown for 2,171 yards. Combined, they have passed for 7,423 yards and 73 touchdowns.
We havent changed our offense, but we are throwing a lot more, Carroll said. We put in some new wrinkles, but thats about all thats new. And when we run, we have players who will get us yards.
I have to give credit to my receivers, who run good routes, and our offensive line, which is coming along. Without either of them, we would have no passing game. And the passing stats, when I see them its hard to believe. But winning is what we care about, not stats.
The other two playoff teams, South Pointe and Fort Mill, are balanced on offense and have good running games.
South Pointe quarterback Devin Pearson is a double threat with his running ability, same goes for Fort Mill quarterback Ryan Wells.
Pearson, who missed two games with an injury, has passed for 985 yards and nine TDs. Wells has passed for 1,306 yards and 13 TDs.
Ryan can throw the ball well, but hes also a good runner, Fort Mill coach Ed Susi said. Last year our quarterback was Preston Fry, and he was a pure passer and not much of a runner. You have to build your offense around whats best for your team.
It seems that every team is throwing the ball more, but that doesnt fit our players. But Ryan has over 1,300 passing yards and thats not to bad. We can throw if we have to.
Chester had been throwing the ball when Victor Floyd was coach. New coach Anthony Sterling stuck with the system that sent Cee Cee Whitlock to South Carolina, Gene McCaskill to Kentucky and Tony McNeil to Clemson.
This years quarterback, Tommy Sanders, has passed for 1,700 yards and will add to his statistics when the Cyclones host Greenville.
Passing more is a trend that filtered down from the NFL to college teams and now to high schools, Richardson said. Byrnes uses the (Air Raid) offense and other teams around the state are dabbling with it. Thats why you see more throwing in high schools and I can see teams around the state passing more.
Barry Byers 329-4099