Spread offense boosts Central Crossing
Gino Siravo of Central Crossing tries to elude Franklin Heights defenders Austin Sansom and Bailey Kibby (right) during the Comets' victory on Sept. 7. Central Crossing's switch to a spread offense has shown promise this season under the direction of junior quarterback Luke Duncan. Buy This Photo
In an attempt to become more competitive in the OCC-Central Division, Central Crossing High School football coach Chris Harr thought his program's offense needed a facelift.
During the offseason, Harr brought in Chuck Williamson as offensive coordinator. Williamson was the coach at Pleasant View Middle School in Grove City the past three seasons and previously was an assistant coach at Central Crossing and Westland.
Williamson came to the program with knowledge of a more open spread offense, a scheme he utilized during his previous coaching assignments.
"When I hired him I told him that things are going to develop and at some point it's going to explode, and it's already been better than what we've ever had," Harr said. "It's just really waiting to take off. The good thing is we have just so much good, young talent that's coming through as ninth-graders, eighth-graders who will really benefit from this style."
Central Crossing previously ran a power-I formation offense.
"We attempt to control the tempo of the game," Williamson said. "We don't want the defense to be allowed to make substitutions. We want to create mismatches. We get our best players versus their worst. ... That's our goal."
Williamson credits a meeting with Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer a few years ago as his introduction to the up-tempo scheme.
Meyer was coaching the University of Florida when he was a guest speaker at a Nike clinic in Cincinnati that Williamson attended.
Williamson had the opportunity to talk with Meyer after the clinic.
"Coach Meyer told me 'You can't date this offense, you have to marry it. If you're not all in, don't run it,'" said Williamson, who added the new offense is being used at all levels of the program. "You have to remain committed to it."
Williamson said Meyer later set up a meeting with then-Bowling Green offensive coordinator Mick McCall, and Williamson gained valuable knowledge on the spread offense during his weeklong visit.
"Bowling Green was absolutely wonderful," he said. "They opened their film room, their playbooks, they gave me everything I wanted."
McCall now is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Northwestern.
The Comets are 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Central, with the win coming against Franklin Heights 35-12 on Sept. 7. The 35 points is a season high.
Central Crossing's offense was effective in a 56-34 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 14 and a 63-27 loss to Upper Arlington on Sept. 28.
Central Crossing will play host to Dublin Coffman on Friday, Oct. 5. The Shamrocks are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the league.
Junior quarterback Luke Duncan is showing promise in the new offense, according to Williamson.
"We're putting points on the board," Williamson said. "It's a system that you get better with every year and the longer they're in it, the better they get. Our quarterback is a junior now and he's getting better every game. We have a nice stable of receivers and then we have the dynamic kid, Tory Clark. He's a special kid. We try to get the ball to him as much as we can."
Duncan threw for a season-high 256 yards against UA, completing 11 of 26 passes, including a 74-yard touchdown to senior Jakob Welch.
For the season, Duncan has completed 70 of 138 passes for 952 yards and four touchdowns.
Clark, who has received interest from several Division I colleges, has been the top contributor in the new offense. He had a season-high 174 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 10 carries against Franklin Heights.
Against UA, Clark had touchdown runs of 65 and 1 yard, along with an 85-yard kickoff return for a score.
"We were really excited about getting a new offense because it's more exciting and I get the ball more as a receiver," junior Michael Traversa said. "We're all having a good year on offense. It's really complex. It's a college-based offense. It's hard to learn, but we're picking it up every game. I feel like we're going to break out any game now."