With a second Greater Middlesex Conference high school football team now running the unique double wing, teams across the league will have a different look for which to get ready.
Carteret head coach Matt Yascko and his staff begins preparing for each opponent long before the Ramblers are to meet those foes on their schedule.
Much of that early legwork, however, can be discarded over the next two weeks as Carteret faces successive opponents who have completely revamped their respective offenses.
Carteret travels to Woodbridge on Saturday and plays Bishop Ahr six days later. Both teams have installed new systems.
Woodbridge is operating the same rare double wing that Dave DeNapoli runs at Dunellen, while Bishop Ahr continues to add to the triple option package it unveiled a little more than two weeks ago.
“Everything that I talked about, wrote down and discussed during the bye week is out the window,” said Yascko, who hoped to use last week’s bye to get a jump on preparing for Woodbridge.
The Barrons showed glimpses of their double wing in a loss to South Plainfield, but stayed in the run-oriented scheme for nearly the entire game against Colonia last weekend, abandoning it only late in the fourth quarter when forced to try to rally in a 21-7 defeat.
Brad Rayborn opened the scoring in that game, breaking off a 40-yard touchdown run out of the double wing on which the defense appeared to lose the fullback behind Woodbridge’s mammoth offensive line.
“I don’t think anybody knew who had the ball,” Colonia coach Tom Roarty said of Rayborn’s touchdown run.
Even though he knew the play call, Yascko said he literally had to watch the game film six times before he could figure out where the carrier was on the play.
“With Woodbridge running it, they are so big up front, it’s like a wall of humanity when they start moving,” Yascko said, noting the Barrons’ size makes their double wing seem more daunting than that of Dunellen, whose linemen are comparatively diminutive.
With the exception of Bogota and St. Mary of Rutherford, who employed double wing packages in recent years, Dunellen and Woodbridge are believed to be the only teams in the state who are running the unique offense.
“There are schools throughout the country — big schools and small schools — that are very successful with it,” DeNapoli said of the double wing, which has helped him with three consecutive GMC Blue Division titles.
“I was always interested to see a big (Group IV) school run it (in New Jersey). (The Barrons) are only going to get better the more they run it and tighten things up. It’s not easy. Some people think it’s a simple offense. There are a lot of details you have to take care of to run it successfully.”
Yascko said Woodbridge coach Bill Nyers, who previously ran a multiple I, has “more formations than anybody else that we’ve played in a long time,” making the Barrons tough to prepare for any year.
Out of the double wing, which is difficult for scout teams to replicate, Woodbridge can run dive, sweep, toss, reverse, play action and more. Roarty said the Patriots had difficulty keeping track of the wing backs and tight ends.
“They looked like they’d been running it for months,” Roarty said. “It’s tough to get the kids to simulate it during the week. It looks simple, but it’s a lot of working parts.”
The offense, which can generate game-breaking scoring runs and makes defenses susceptible to the big pass play, is designed to control the clock and keep the ball away from the opposition.
Were it not for a lost fumble near the goal line midway through the fourth quarter, Woodbridge could have taken the lead against the Patriots. The timing on a pitch — a miscue that can be easily remedied — led to the turnover.
“We had a rough first quarter,” said Roarty, who moved middle linebacker Chris Crothers to the outside, one of several key maneuvers that solidified Colonia’s defense against the double wing.
“Guys really don’t understand the offense yet,” said DeNapoli, who has been a student of the double wing for years. “It lends itself to be successful because you can’t find the ball carriers.”
Garcia boots winner
John Garcia had a game to forget on Oct. 4 against Woodbridge. The rookie kicker converted just 2 of 4 extra point attempts, which led to him refining his mechanics.
After working with his coaches, Garcia realized he needed to wait a second before kicking the ball. The changes appeared to have worked as Garcia was perfect on his lone extra point try and his biggest boot to date — a game-winning 21-yard field goal that sent South Plainfield to an 18-17 victory over Bishop Ahr Friday night.
“John had a rough game against Woodbridge and his timing was off,” South Plainfield coach Gary Cassio said. “Special teams coach (Matt) Connell worked with him. He was huge for us. You can’t ask for more from a 15-year-old kid.”
With the Tigers in need of a kicker, Garcia volunteered for the vacant position in the offseason and worked with his father Mauricio, who was a soccer player in Columbia, on the turf at South Plainfield over the summer.
“At first, my kicks weren’t very pretty,” admitted Garcia, who is also a reserve wide receiver and defensive back for the Tigers. “But my dad worked me through it.”
Prior to the dramatic kick, Bishop Ahr tried to ice Garcia with a timeout. That’s when Tigers quarterback Kyle Moroney walked over to Garcia and said, “Sandy.” The totally random word made Garcia chuckle and eased his nerves before the kick.
Garcia was clutching the team’s sledgehammer after the game for his dramatic kick.
“My team is so good that I just do it for them,” he said.
The Top 10
1. Monroe 5-0
2. Old Bridge 4-1
3. South Brunswick 3-2
4. Edison 2-2
5. Sayreville 3-2
6. Linden 3-2
7. Piscataway 2-2
8. St. Joseph 5-0
9. South Plainfield 4-0
10. Rahway 4-1