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?
"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.