After enduring a heart-wrenching 0-10 season in 2002, Lakeside coach Randy Hill decided to revamp the Panthers' then-inept offense.
Lakeside running back Blake Goolsby catches a pitch from quarterback Jimmy Johnson, right, as the Panthers work on the option offense that led them to four wins last season.
Photo by Jonathan Heeter
Thus came the birth of the wishbone formation and the triple option.
The pure triple option allows the quarterback the option of handing off to a fullback up the middle, running the ball and pitching to the tailback or keeping it himself. Variations allow the quarterback to pass.
The new offense propelled the Panthers to a 3-0 start last season, with wins coming over Greenbrier and Evans. Lakeside slipped to a 1-6 stretch to end the season, but the option was credited for the team's fast start.
"I know it is easy after the fact to say it was the right decision," Hill said. "But, it was the right decision."
The Panthers lose running backs Philip Sadler and Tosin Fawibe to graduation, but quarterback Jimmy Johnson thinks the offense will continue to evolve.
"We lost some key guys, but we were just learning the option last season," he said. "With those backs we still had growing pains with the new offense. We have to replace them, but the returning players are in their second year of the offense."
Coming into the rotation will be Arthur Marshall, Kyle Hill, Blake Goolsby and Reggie Porter.
"Those guys are talented," Hill said. "We just have to find a rotation that plays to each of their strengths."
To further acclimate his players to the offense, Hill has been showing the team tapes of Air Force and other teams that run the option.
"Watching tapes of the option has helped us see how great teams can run that offense," said running back Carl Burrow. "We have a year under our belts and we expect to execute better this fall."
Burrow will be Hill's lead tailback in the offense, a role that Burrow embraces.
"I am very excited to shoulder a lot of the load this year," he said. "I want my teammates to know they can rely on me in crunch time. I want coach to know that he can give me the ball in crunch time. I want to get the ball as much as possible."
If Burrow gets his wish and produces, then the Panthers will be staring at another surprising season.
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