At their scrimmage on Saturday, the Waynesville football team displayed a few new plays that integrate wide receivers more
WAYNESVILLE — It is evident from the football scrimmage on Saturday that the Waynesville Tigers are trying to even out the percentage of passing plays to run plays this season.
They'll still be a running team, that's their true strength, but Offensive Coordinator Derek Heflin wants to be less predictable this season.
The triple-option has become more of a staple in the offense with wide receivers moving across the formation and becoming a pitch back.
Heflin said he has added several new things to the playbook to keep defenses guessing.
“We're trying to get our receivers involved more and we'll be running play action a lot more,” Heflin said. “We feel like our strength is [our run game]. So we're trying to go play action and run screens to get the ball in our receivers' hands.”
The beauty of the triple-option is that it will allow the offense to stay in single-back spread sets and still have a variety of run or pass plays available to them.
Watching the offense use that to their advantage against their own defense was quite the sight to see.
On the first offensive play of the scrimmage, quarterback Varon Martinez bounced to the outside on a 60-yard touchdown run.
The second offensive series had a couple of miscues, but Martinez had three passes net the Tigers a total of 30 yards.
To cap off the third series, wide receiver Nigel Farmer nabbed a screen pass and ducked his way through traffic for a 58-yard touchdown.
Farmer said the call was for a slant on the outside with a bubble screen underneath and Martinez, obviously, made the right choice.
“Varon [Martinez] did a good job of reading the defense,” Farmer said. “We have a good receiving corps. Defenses should be worried about us, because we can carve them up in the passing game.”
Later, newcomer Reggie Walker made the most of a wide receiver pitch with an 80-yard run. It was followed up with J.T. Thomas punching through the defense with a 5-yard carry for the TD.
Thomas said last year the offense had its trouble hauling in passes, but the coaches have done a great job shoring that up.
“I think we're going to surprise them with the pass this year,” Thomas said. “We caught more balls this summer than ever. We're going to be a triple-threat team this year.”
Meaning they can run the ball with the backs (including the QB) or the receivers or pass the ball.
The defense had a decent showing, but were admittedly sloppy.
Thomas said it was only because there was some new guys who aren't quite there yet, but will be. In the end, he said, it'll help having them ready in the wings.
“This year, at linebacker, we're keeping a lot of fresh legs in there,” Thomas said. “Last year we kept our number ones in there, but this year we are working on our twos and threes so we can get a good rotation and everybody can get a break.”
When the first defense took their first series on the field, they gave up a couple of big runs (Martinez was at quarterback), but when the offense crossed the 50-yard line, the defense stiffened up and forced a punt.
Later in the scrimmage, they had a better showing (a different quarterback was in) and forced a couple of fumbles and even scooped up the ball and scored a couple of times.
It was nice, Thomas said, to finally get some time with full pads on.
“We've been working all summer,” he said. “The season is finally here.”
The Tigers will get their first game action on Friday when they travel to Springfield for their jamboree at Glendale High School. Games start at 6:00 p.m.