At a restaurant during an Ohio trip, Lakeside coach Jarrett Troxler called offensive coordinator Josh Ingram, who had some doubts about what he was being told.
Looking at football power St. Edward High School’s no-huddle spread attack, Troxler wanted to bring the concept to the Panthers, but Ingram and Troxler knew what that might mean: difficult terminology to a teenager and confused looks at coaches.
Ingram and Troxler did what they could. They simplified everything, most importantly the terminology.
It seems to be working. Through seven games, Lakeside is averaging about 30 points per game, which is 10 more than what the Panthers were averaging at this time year ago.
The overall scheme hasn’t changed, but it’s simpler – and faster.
“By the fourth quarter, when we snap the ball, they’re still lining up,” Troxler said. “Our goal is to wear down the defense.”
Lakeside, which got quarterback Mark Weidenaar back this season after he missed the 2010 season, is doing this despite losing three starting offensive linemen from the previous season.
But with running back Johnathan Long and receiving targets like Eamon Diehl and Jonathon Edwards, the Panthers have been hitting their stride the past few weeks.
The shifting and movement have helped Lakeside score 76 combined points the past two weeks as the Panthers moved to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in region play.
Weidenaar has also gotten into a rhythm.
He said he was a little timid when it came to running early in the season, but as the injury becomes farther back both in time and in his mind, he’s emerged as an even stronger dual-threat quarterback.
He rushed for more than 100 yards in the win against Effingham County last week and threw for more than 100 yards and two touchdowns despite attempting only six passes.
Recently, Weidenaar and Lakeside have also cut down on turnovers – the Panthers had 11 total in losses to Thomson and North Augusta.
Troxler, who also talked with Lincoln County’s Mike Doolittle about offense, said no-huddle spread offenses are often seen as more finesse than physical, but he thinks the brutal nonregion slate that featured Thomson, North Augusta and Northside (Warner Robins) has made his physical team only tougher.
Previously Lakeside’s offensive coordinator, Troxler gave himself more responsibilities with the unit in 2010 than he has now, and he said it was what any young energetic coach would do.
But Troxler said the team suffered because he had many other jobs to handle as head coach.
This year, it’s been Ingram and the entire staff working with the players on the high-powered attack, looking at what’s working and what each defense offers.
“We’ll do whatever (for however long) until they stop it,” Ingram said.