COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge football coach A.J. Ofodile wore his yellow shoes during the game Friday.
He figured it was time to change things up for the Class 6, District 3 quarterfinal game against Jefferson City.
"I woke up feeling like we were gonna win," he said. "So I just wanted to do something different, shake it up, break up the monotony a little bit. I wanted to look quick tonight."
The coach's choice of shoes was like a good luck charm to him, and it seemed to work. Rock Bridge defeated Jefferson City 48-18 just a week after losing to the same team.
But a change of footwear wasn't the only thing Ofodile adjusted for the game.
With starting quarterback Logan Twehous and starting running back Eli Stout both out with injuries, Ofodile mixed up his offense.
The coach implemented the wildcat — a formation that puts the running back in shotgun to take the snap, a spot where the quarterback normally is.
The changes didn't stop from there. Ofodile didn't use a running back in his version of the wildcat. He used the 6-foot-3, 215-pound sophomore tight end Hayden Johnson.
"I'll give credit to Paul Krenzel, who was our freshman coach last year, who is at Camdenton (High School) now," Ofodile said. "It was his idea initially to use Hayden as a wildcat quarterback on (the) freshman (team). And he was dominant doing it."
"So we took that idea from him, and then we married it to the wildcat package that we used to run with Trey Millard, that Bob Stoops took from us and used with Blake Bell," he said. "I promise you that happened. I want my credit. I'm still waiting on the credit from him."
Ofodile's changes to the game thrived, to say the least. On the opening drive, Johnson took a snap in the wildcat and dropped back to pass. He threw the ball up to senior receiver Zach Reuter who brought it down and took off for a 38-yard score.
The touchdown was just the beginning of what was a great game for Johnson. He ended the night with five total touchdowns — two passing and three rushing.
After the game, Johnson was just appreciative of the system and his teammates.
"They asked me to do wildcat, and I just tried to step up and make plays as a sophomore," he said. "We had great blockers. The lead blockers were blocking great all night. There was just good holes."
Ofodile attributed the switch of offensive schemes to Twehous' injury. Sophomore Karson Ringdahl stepped in at quarterback on Friday while Twehous was resting.
"We knew he (Ringdahl) would be competent, we knew he'd be smart, we knew he'd be safe with the football and could make some good throws," Ofodile said. "But we felt like first time out we didn't want to make him have to take 75 snaps.
"So we felt like that (the wildcat) was a way to offset that a little bit," he said. "Give a different look that they haven't seen, and do something. ... We've had success with in the past."
The win advances Rock Bridge to the district semifinals, where they are scheduled to play Francis Howell Central on Friday.
After the game, the team gathered on the field and celebrated the victory, repeatedly chanting "Dome! Dome! Dome!" referring to the team's aspirations to make it to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis for the Class 6 state championship.
Assistant coach Jamie Scholten put his hand on one of the players' shoulders, jumped in the huddle, and pumped up the team a little bit more.
"The road to the championship starts tomorrow!" he said.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.