High School Football

Air attack: Spring Valley hopes shift ‘opens up so many more opportunities’ on offense

The 7-on-7 passing leagues have had a different meaning this summer for the Spring Valley High football team.

For the past eight seasons, the Vikings were a run-dominated flexbone attack and infrequently used the pass as part of their offense. Taking part in the summer passing leagues didn’t really help a team that attempted 77 passes in all of 2017 and 62 a year ago.

That’s not the case this summer. With the Vikings scrapping the flexbone in favor of a spread offense, Spring Valley coach Robin Bacon has upped the team’s participation in passing leagues to help get up to speed with the team’s new offense.

“We are getting extra reps against really good teams,” Bacon said.

Bacon has been toying with switching the team’s offense for the last year or so. He thought the timing was perfect this year with a lot of young players on the roster plus the arrival of new offensive coordinator Dan Morgan.

Morgan is back in the Midlands after two years as Eastside coach. Before Eastside, Morgan spent nine seasons at Blythewood with the final four coming as head coach.

“We felt like it was the time to do it,” Bacon said. “Key for me is to do it when we are young and have time to develop these guys. Coach Morgan is a great offensive mind.”

The Spring Valley players — especially the receivers — were excited about the change. There will be a lot of new faces out there catching passes, and that was evident with several dropped passes during the team portion of practice Thursday. Malik Wesley led the team with 12 catches last season but graduated and signed to play at UNLV. Manny Moore and Hunter Rodgers are the only returnees that caught a passes last season.

“We kind of knew it was going to happen eventually,” said Skylar McCants, who is moving from running back to receiver. “All our guys are excited. We are excited to get the ball more.”

“It was amazing finding out we were going to spread. It opens up so many more opportunities,” Moore said. “We didn’t have good a connection with quarterbacks but now are talking more and have signs and signals we got to learn.”

Bacon said Moore and McCants are among the team’s top receiving options along with Rodgers and Jonathan Sanders. The quarterback position hasn’t been decided on yet with Dequandre Smith and Cam Smith (no relation) battling it out.

Bacon is going slowly with the installation of the offense and has put in eight to 12 plays in so far.

The team won’t abandon the run totally, Bacon said. It will just go about it a way teams haven’t seen from the Vikings offense. In the past, teams had to spend a lot more in preparing to face the flexbone, an offense not too many teams around the state use anymore.

”Triple option is very tough to prepare for and you know that every week. We are going to be like everyone else,” Bacon said. “We are going to establish run. We will be a little different. I didn’t want to be like everyone else in the spread. I want to be physical and establish the run and do some two-back stuff.”