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Extreme makeover: Morris offense gets creative

WASHINGTON — The Morris Redskins flipped through nearly every page of their offensive playbook on Saturday during their 28-27 overtime win on the road against the Washington Panthers in the Class 5A football quarterfinals. And though it was far from their best showing offensively, the Redskins were able to mix it up just enough offensively to get the job done and move on to the semifinals.

Morris opened up in the I-Formation to very little success in the early going on an unseasonably warm but windy day in front of a reported crowd of close to 6,000 at Babcock Field. The Panthers clearly loaded the box to stop the power running attack Morris rode to the tune of 414 yards on their way to a 65-20 win over Urbana back in Morris the week prior.

“They were keying the run and trying to stop us, especially in ‘I’ and ‘T’,” Morris head coach Alan Thorson said. “So you have to be able to go to different offenses or you’re gonna get shut down.”

The Panthers held Morris to just 74 first-half rushing yards, bottling up leading rusher Reese Sobol. On the night the Redskins, would finish with just 167 rushing yards on 38 attempts, with Sobol being held to just 3.6 yards per carry after entering the contest averaging nearly 9.1 yards per tote on the season.

However, late in the third quarter, the Redskins elected to go the spread offense, extending the defense in an effort to create running lanes. Quarterback Zach Cinnamon made the most of it, running the ball eight times in the second half and overtime for 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“That’s why we practice (the spread) stuff every week. We spend just as much time as we do on ‘I’ and ‘T’ as we do on spread, and even our deuce package – another shotgun look – just to stay versatile,” Thorson said.

The Redskins even broke out their “Hawaii” package — or the Lonesome Polecat if you prefer — though it worked to less-than-desired effects. A Washington blitzer and an untimely slip disrupted the designed call and forced Cinnamon to throw his fourth interception of the year. However, don’t expect the Redskins to shy away from their gimmick offense if the need arises.

“It just depends on the situation, if we think we need it, we’ll pull it out, and if not, we might not use it,” senior captain and Indiana-bound tight end Danny Friend said.

For Friend, the role he plays in the offense can vary dramatically from one package to the nex. This year he has found himself with his hand in the dirt as more of an in-line blocker after spending a lot of time on the outside in last year’s more pass-happy attack. However, that’s a transition he’s more than comfortable with.

“It’s something I like. I like to block a lot and I’m very comfortable doing that. I did it a lot in grade school, so it’s something I’m used to,” the 6-5 250 pound Friend said.

With players like Friend and 6-3 220 pound Central Michigan-bound RB/LB Jeff Perry, one of the first things that stands out about the 2012 Redskins on film is their size and physicality. But they are also comfortable with the playmakers they have on the outside when they have to go spread. And even though it wasn’t explosive, that change of pace when the Redskins trailed by two touchdowns at the start of the fourth quarter made a big difference.

The Redskins are going to run the football, but they are going to continue to be multiple offensively.

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