Hickman formations flummox Rock Bridge

Friday, September 26, 2008 | 11:32 p.m. CDT; updated 10:14 a.m. CDT, Saturday, September 27, 2008
Josh Williams rushes the ball for Hickman on Friday night. The Kewpies overran the Bruins at Faurot Field.

Faurot Field is no stranger to creativity on offense.

Every time the Missouri Tigers take the field, fans are treated to one of the most innovative offensives at any level of football.

In Friday night's 41-7 Providence Bowl win, it was Hickman's turn.

The Kewpies used a variety of unique formations and motions to the keep the Rock Bridge defense off-balance all night.

Hickman offensive coordinator Eric Thomas used several sets in which he split four receivers to one side of the field and another formation in which the Kewpies only used one offensive tackle.

After forcing a a turnover on downs in the third quarter inside their own 10-yard line, the Kewpies used the one-tackle formation. They sent both tight ends in motion before handing the ball to sophomore running back Spenser Washington, who sprinted up the middle of the field for a 51-yard gain.

"It's important for us to be able to line up in those formations, use those motions, flip linemen and get things where we want them advantage-wise," Thomas said. "Hopefully it makes it a nightmare for the defensive coordinator."

Thomas arrived at Hickman this season after spending five years as the head coach at Cameron High School. With the inexperience the Kewpies had with his system, and its complexity, Thomas thinks his young players are just starting to find their rhythm.

"We're starting to evolve as an offense," Thomas said. "And those are the things that we're capable of doing each week with kids that are just starting to get it."

Thomas also noted that the Kewpies don't start any seniors at any skill positions. That inexperience would make it easy to get overwhelmed with such a complicated scheme, but the Kewpies have worked all season on communicating their concerns.

"At first I thought it would be a big load," said junior quarterback Matt Herman said. "But when you've got all these guys around you that are going through it like you are, it works it pretty well."

Herman was involved in four Kewpie touchdows, two passing and two rushing.

Running this offense requires a lot from a quarterback, and Hickman's coaching staff is pleased with the steps Herman has taken as a first-year starter.

"His play was lights out tonight," head coach Jason Wright said of Herman. "He was ready to play from the start, and I thought it was contagious. I thought he gave us some leadership from that position."

Along with that leadership, Wright thinks that his offense's performance tonight will spread a new-found confidence throughout his players.

"What we can take from this is a little bit more confidence," Wright said. "With a win like this, you begin to buy in a little bit more to your coaching staff. You buy into preparing a little bit better, practicing hard throughout the week."

If Thomas's players do buy in the way Wright is imagining, there will be plenty of sleepless defensive coordinators throughout the area.

"There's a lot of wrinkles people haven't even seen yet," Thomas said.

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