The Nation’s Top Units Series ’15…Backfields

Edge of the seat entertainment, and the reason why fans surround the game of football is the offensive backfield. What makes a good backfield is a quality passer and a speedy running back.  What makes a great backfield is a quarterback and running back who elevate their team to constant victory regardless of conditions or location.   Most high school backfields might have one or the other and coaches have come to the realization that possessing a stud at qb and a thoroughbred at running back is more a myth than a reality. The next five schools live the myth and have what coaches dream about possessing. Take a look…

5)  Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)

The Gaels of Bishop Gorman head into the fall still hopped up off the success of last year’s undefeated season.  Some guys are just great football players and the backfield of Bishop Gorman is an example of this.  Tate Martel is an all everything athlete who will use his three headed monster at running back to make a run at another national title.   Biaggio Walsh, Jonathan Shumaker, and Troy Wilewski will take up the rushing duties while Martel again picks apart zones and man to man defenses.  A stat heavy backfield with over 5,000 total yards returning, Bishop Gorman expects to catch defenses off guard in two main ways. With Martel’s ability to scramble and throw off the run, and reloading the backfield with a fresh back from their host of talented runners.  Do not be surprised if this team is able to have a repeat success story and have a place in the history books of high school football’s greatest runs.

bishop gorman logo

4)  DeSoto (DeSoto, TX)

It takes a bit of a throwback mentality to appreciate the excitement that DeSoto’s backfield brings to the game.  Starting with LaDarren Brown, he is one of the top all-purpose backs in high school football.  A mainstream look at the game says one player should never be able to cripple an opposing team, but Brown has a skill set that is quite “out of the box.”  Generation X’ers would compare Brown to Dave Meggett or Eric Metcalf while the younger groups would see him in the mold of Arian Foster or Lesean Mccoy.  Regardless of what cape he wears on game day, Brown must have a dedicated double team and defensive strategy that is specific to containing him.  At quarterback Tristen Wallace adds his dual threat capabilities to an already highly explosive deal. One thing is guaranteed and that is this backfield will find its way to the end zone on its opponents.

desoto_eagles

3)  Wayne (Huber Heights, OH)

The Wayne Warriors will have tough and rugged players in their backfield going into this fall football season.  Messiah DeWeaver is a highlighted name in the high school football world, but what completes the Warrior’s backfield making it so dangerous is the subtle stardom of Josh Foster.  Foster has the obvious tools for a top tier running back.  These skills include speed, great size, and shiftiness.  He runs with great vision and a low center of gravity.  Frederick Pitts V will add some additional speed to the backfield and pop an occasional long run.   Foster and Pitts being off the radar may be a blessing in disguise for Wayne’s star quarterback, as it will balance offensive production and keep DeWeaver relaxed in his play.  A classic combination of a quick strike quarterback, work load carrying running backs, and a deep run into the playoffs will keep fans excited about this upcoming season for Wayne High.

wayne logo

2) Brownsburg (Brownsburg, IN)

A true slasher at running back, Toks Akinribade, teams up with the number one quarterback in the class of 2017, Hunter Johnson, to form a pro-style attack from the backfield. While many high school offenses have become  new-age with multiple formations, the Bulldogs backfield hits defenses with a more pro-style approach only using creative looks when necessary.  This simply tells the tale of how good the Brownsburg backfield really is. Other teams defenses would rather prepare for wrinkles and odd formations than a straight to the point offense.  An offense like Brownburg’s in this case has the elite backfield to score from anywhere on the field during any point of the game.  My bet is that the Bulldog’s backfield will keep the game plan at a simple checkers pace, even though defenses will expect a chess match.

brownsburg

1)  IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)

Although IMG will not have the arm of Malik Henry this fall, another high grade qb will be heading the Ascender’s backfield.  Shea Patterson, who transferred in from Louisiana’s Calvary Baptist will seek the help of Tony Jones Jr. in validating IMG as the number one backfield in high school football.  The deadly accuracy of Patterson helped him attain the top of the charts in qb rankings for the class of 2016.  He is the true meaning of a blue chip quarterback, combining the tools of arm strength, touch, and accuracy to actualize wins for any team he plays for.  Patterson knows how to use each type of pass: long, medium, and short range to make the offense work.  This year he will have the opportunity to combine his skills with those of Jones who is in that elite rusher class.  Jones skills are simple in nature but produce other-worldly results.  The wrinkle that IMG will have in the offensive playbook is the option to move Jones from the backfield to slot and other receiver positions.  This will definitely create mismatches between Jones and slower linebackers and less athletic safeties.   If high school fans like to judge a talent book by its cover then IMG makes for an instant classic.

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