Pictured is the 2010 Jay County High School football team. The Patriots, coming off of a 2-8 season, will be in their first year under 1985 JCHS graduate Steve Boozier. The team opens its season at home Friday against Delta at 7 p.m.
Pictured is the 2010 Jay County High School football team. The Patriots, coming off of a 2-8 season, will be in their first year under 1985 JCHS graduate Steve Boozier. The team opens its season at home Friday against Delta at 7 p.m.
For several seasons, the Jay County High School football team has run a wide-open offense. They’ve lined up in the shotgun with four wide receivers on almost every play.
The 2010 version of the Patriots will have a drastically different look.
Steve Boozier, a 1985 graduate of JCHS, brings with him an option offense that will have the quarterback under center with three running backs behind him. And whereas Jay County has thrown the ball quite a bit recently, Boozier's squads at Blackford and his two previous coaching stops have been known to not put the ball in the air for entire games.
“It’s based on multiple formations to cause defensive confusion,” Boozier said. “And then we primarily base it off of three components: power, option and play-action pass. … We try to twist and turn the defense into conflicts. …
“We’re a running team, but I think we’re kind of an exciting running team because we hide the ball. We use a lot of misdirection.”
Not only will the offense be new, but the players called upon to execute the option running attack will be as well. The entire backfield will be made up of sophomores, with Brock McFarland at quarterback, Cade Price and Blake Crouch at running back and Tyler Back at fullback.
They all saw some action last year — McFarland completed five passes for 60 yards in the sectional loss to New Haven — but will all be full-time starters for the first time.
“Brock playing quarterback, obviously he’s going to have to be a leader,” said Boozier. “At quarterback, regardless of your age or experience, you’re the coach on the field. … He’s got all the tools.
“Tyler Back needs to continue to run hard. He’s a huge kid. He’s got the speed. And he’s going to be very tough to bring down.”
The only returning Patriot who led the team in any category last season is senior Zach Cash, who finished 55-of-129 passing for 600 yards and three touchdowns and carried the ball 86 times for 496 yards and four TDs. He will miss the first two games of the season as he serves a suspension for a violation of team rules.
Seniors James Schubert and Dylan Hutzler, a center and guard respectively, and sophomores Aaron Dunmoyer, Travis Slack and Kane Bray will do the blocking in front of the young backfield.
“Our offensive line, two weeks ago, we would have said was a weakness, not because of their ability, but because we’re asking these kids to do things they’ve never done before,” Boozier said. “The last two or three days we’ve really improved immensely.
“These kids are picking up the system a lot better than I thought they would.”
Scott Schwieterman and Eric Beougher will both see time at tight end, and Jarod Lochtefeld will be the split end. Dakota Steed will be used as an offensive utility man.
On the defensive side of the ball the Patriots will also go with a different look as they use a five-man front with sophomores Schwieterman and Back on the outside. Matt Taylor and Evan James will play the tackle positions, and senior Jacob Coffman will be at nose tackle.
Beougher, Tyler Claycomb and Cody Slusher will fill the linebacking spots, with Lochtefeld, Price and Steed at defensive back.
“Our defense is multiple front and it’s high pressure,” said Boozier. “Some defenses are set up to read the play and react to it.
“Our defense is set up to stop a play before it’s developed. … It’s based on the idea that at the snap the kids have very few reads.
“They just attack the football.”
Boozier said such an attacking mindset does occasionally result in giving up big plays, but he added that he’d rather force the issue than play a more passive style.
The 2010 Patriots will get to play two-thirds of their regular-season games at home, with six of their first seven at Harold E. Schutz Memorial Stadium. They open at home Friday against Delta, travel to Blackford in week two, and then have consecutive home dates against Franklin County, Leo, Muncie Southside, Connersville and Pendleton Heights.
While Boozier said he doesn’t think home versus away is as big of an issue in high school as it is in college or the pros, he also noted that JCHS is a difficult place to play.
“When I was at Blackford I never let our kids come on the field first,” he said, “because I didn’t want our kids standing on that sideline and hearing that Jay County Fight Song …”
The Patriots will be looking to improve on a 2009 season with saw them go just 2-8 with seven straight losses to finish the year.
“I’m excited for the kids. It’s all about them,” said Boozier, who was 45-39 in eight years at Blackford and had six seasons of .500 or better. “I want them to make the most of every opportunity every week. … I think we’ll improve every week. I really do. I’m looking forward to seeing how much we improve from one week to the next.”