Preps Talk

EDGY: It's becoming 'offensive' in the IHSA football playoffs

EDGY: It's becoming 'offensive' in the IHSA football playoffs

What was the buzz across Illinois in IHSA Football playoff circles on Friday night?

It had to be the Class 5A final that rolled across the screen: Peoria 96, Decatur Eisenhower 40. A football score. Not basketball.

While the top-seeded Peoria Lions (10-1) have been scoring points in bunches all season, no one expected head coach Tim Thornton's read option offense to drop nearly 100 points in a single game — let alone in the second round of the postseason.

The excitement and sheer amazement from Peoria's 96 point feat lasted less than 24 hours. On Saturday in Class 2A, Deer Creek-Mackinaw scored 91 points and held off Chicago Hope Academy for the, 91-70, win. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Take a look at the other results from last weekend. You'll see lopsided scores in almost every class. Why all the points all of a sudden?

[MORE: Edgy's Top 25 Power Rankings for Week 10]

"The high school offenses have evolved," Loyola Academy head coach John Holocek said. "Teams are running more run/pass read option offenses and when you can get an athletic quarterback in space, it gets harder and harder to defend."

High school teams have seen the run/pass read option offense popping up everywhere over the past few seasons. It's an attack that forces opposing defenses to cover more of the field than ever before. Sure, not every team operates a run/pass read option offense. However, I'm willing to bet that — in more cases than not — it’s the weapon of choice for high-scoring offenses.

"If you have an athletic run/pass quarterback, along with maybe two or three athletic kids on the outside, it's really tough to defend," Holocek added. "You can have everything covered and even then an athletic run/pass option quarterback can just blow everything up."

If you’re a fan of crazy scoreboard numbers, sit back and relax. Watch the numbers fly. At least for now, one thing seems to be pretty clear: high school football offenses have a clear advantage. 

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

63 Days to Kickoff: Shepard

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Shepard

Head coach: John Rone

Assistant coaches: Andrew Porter, Ron Rivera, Chris Lewis, Ryan McGuire and Clint Connelly

How they fared in 2017: 8-2 (5-1 South Suburban Red Conference). Shepard made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Astros lost to Marmion Academy in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Leyden

Sept. 1 @ Stagg

Sept 7 vs Hillcrest

Sept. 14 vs Eisenhower

Sept. 21 @ Richards

Sept. 28 @ Oak Lawn

Oct. 5 vs Reavis

Oct. 12 vs Evergreen Park

Oct. 19 @ Argo

Biggest storyline: First-year head coach John Rone. Can the Astros challenge once again for the South Suburban Red conference title under a new head coach?

Names to watch this season: RB/LB Chris Harrison and TE/DE Kevin Graham

Biggest holes to fill: The Astros bring back 10 returning starters (five offense, five defense). Overall depth could also be a concern.  

EDGY's Early Take: Shepard will be led by former Eisenhower assistant Rone, who was able to retain an experienced staff at Shepard. It will help ease the transition from former head coach Dominic Passolano this summer. If the Astros can get off to a good early start they have the overall talent to again make a state playoff appearance in 2018. Can they challenge conference power Richards in the South Suburban Red race?

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

64 Days to Kickoff: T.F. South

Head coach: Bob Padjen

Assistant coaches: Trent Jensen, Jesse Kikkert, Jonathan Hill, Doug Smith, Mike Tisza, Rob Shell and Tim Russell

How they fared in 2017: 6-4 (3-3 South Suburban Blue Conference), T.F. South made the Class 6A state football playoff field. The Rebels lost to Danville in opening round action. 

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Thornwood

Sept. 1 vs Julian

Sept. 7 vs Oak Forest

Sept. 14 @ TF North

Sept. 21 vs Bremen

Sept. 28 @ Reavis

Oct. 5 vs Hillcrest

Oct. 12 @ Lemont

Oct. 19 @ Tinley Park

[MORE: 86 Days to Kickoff - Reavis]

Biggest storyline: T.F. South has advanced to the playoffs 20 times in the past 24 seasons. Can the Rebels get back to the IHSA state playoff field and make more noise this fall?

Names to watch this season: QB Kamron Clayton LB Michael Smith

Biggest holes to fill: The Rebels will need to replace seven starters on each side of the football this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: T.F. South head coach Bob Padjen was able to keep the Rebels on a winning path in his first season as Rebels head coach after several years serving in an assistant role. South always has talent. If the underclassmen can step up this summer, look for the Rebels to challenge for the top half of the South Suburban Blue conference race.