Ask some football coaches about their offensive philosophies and they invoke a taxidermists' skill.

Ask some football coaches about their offensive philosophies and they invoke a taxidermists' skill.

"There's more than one way to skin a cat" is a coach's common response.

Brian White has been skinning area cats the same way for a dozen years. The Hilliard Davidson High School football team is the central Ohio program with the most recent success on the biggest stage. Twice in the last four years, the Wildcats have won a Division I state title. In 2006, they beat Mentor 36-35 in double overtime while attempting only four passes, completing two for 19 yards. Last season, they beat Glenville 16-15 and were 0-for-2 passing.

"There are teams having great success throwing the football," White said. "So I'm not in any position to tell them otherwise. We just happen to prefer a simpler approach to the game."

Long gone are the days of dive play after dive play when a football game closely resembled a rugby game. Even high school coaches like White who rely heavily on the running game occasionally implement the forward pass.

"We actually do throw in practice just as much as we run our option or power run games," White said. "We just prefer in games to try to help our defense as much as possible by keeping them off the field. It's a philosophy. Some share it, some don't."

Davidson does not appear to have a championship hangover. The Wildcats swept their non-conference schedule this season. In those three games, quarterback Jimmy Curtis attempted nine passes compared to 154 rushing attempts by the Wildcats.

White's style obviously works as the results prove. So why don't more coaches follow his lead?

Coaches will never commit to a homogeneous offensive style. Variety creates mismatches and, most importantly, an advantage.

"I feel like on the high school level you've got to adapt your system to what kids you have," West Jefferson coach Shawn Buescher said. "Coach White can plug kids in. In the same sense, I would guess, his system is set up to where he can tweak things and play off his strengths."

The past four seasons, West Jefferson's strength was its quarterback, D.J. Mendenhall, who was a two-time first-team all-state selection and two-time Division V Player of the Year. Now a freshman at Urbana, he finished his prep career with 5,720 yards passing and 60 touchdowns.

By comparison, Davidson's quarterback this year, Curtis, was 6-for-9 passing for 94 yards and one touchdown through three games.

Dublin Coffman has had a long list of top-tier quarterbacks from current NFL player Brady Quinn to this year's starter Cole Stoudt, who is considering scholarship offers from numerous Division I colleges.

The Shamrocks run the spread offense, which at the high school level has recently grown in popularity. Just how popular? It is noticeable with a quick glance at the state record book. Quarterbacks have enjoyed an impressive 10-year run beginning in 2000. Nine of the top 10 players with the most passing yards in a season occurred since 2000 and all 10 quarterbacks with the most career passing yards have graduated during the past decade. When it comes to touchdowns, nine of the top 10 quarterbacks with the most touchdown passes in a season occurred since 2000 and eight of the top 10 quarterbacks with the most career touchdown passes graduated during this past decade.

Olentangy Liberty's inaugural season was 2003, just as the popularity of the spread offense was, well, spreading.

"When we opened at Olentangy Liberty, we were never blessed with a considerable amount of linemen," Patriots coach Steve Hale said. "I seem to have 100 strong safeties in my building. We wanted to try to get our smaller athletes in space and give them a chance that way. I like what you can do with the spread offense. It spreads out a defense and makes the defense defend sideline-to-sideline, as well as vertically."

Although Liberty uses the spread, it relies on the run. In a 61-3 win over Delaware on Sept. 10, the Patriots attempted only seven passes.

Hale does not have a quarterback like Stoudt, who helps Coffman win by throwing the ball, and Hale does not have a large offensive line like Davidson's that would allow the Patriots to run the ball 50 times a game.

Hale may not adhere strictly to a certain offensive style, but Liberty has had six consecutive playoff appearances.

"That's the challenge you face, is figuring out what is the best place to put your kids in to give them a chance to be successful," Hale said. "There are a lot of ways to skin the cat."