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September 23, 2017

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High school football:

Sierra Vista High looking for advantages anywhere it can


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Sierra Vista football players Caleb Stiles, D.J. Lashaul and Deon Daswell July 30, 2013.

Northwest League — 2013

Palo Verde High football players (from left) Sean Dennis, Josh Hamilton and Parker Rost before the 2013 season. Launch slideshow »

Football is often about finding weaknesses and exploiting them. When a team has the best players at most positions it doesn’t matter much how they use them. But when that’s not the case? Well, that’s when a team like Sierra Vista High goes against the grain.

In his first year as Sierra Vista’s coach after serving as an assistant at Arbor View High, John Foss’ offensive scheme actually mirrors the larger trends in football. It’s just different in the Sunset Northwest League.

Foss said he plans to run a pistol, option offense with a lot of quick passes.

“It’s been good for our situation,” he said. “Try to get the ball into space and make plays.”

The spread, read-option is probably the most popular offense over the three major levels of football — pro, college and high school — and it’s certainly the one favored by teams looking to make a schematic change. The reason it makes sense in Foss’ situation, though, is that teams like Arbor View and Palo Verde High run something completely different.

Those are power-running offenses that more resemble the original days of football than the spread attacks popular now. And if there’s anything to learn from years of following the game it’s that being different is often a good thing.

“We’re obviously not going to trick them a whole lot so we’ll give them something different,” Foss said. “Not saying we’re going to beat them, but it should give us a fighting shot.”

Foss clearly has his sights on his former school and Palo as the type of programs he’d like to establish at Sierra Vista. Getting up to speed with those schools’ weight programs, Foss said, will take a couple of years.

“Keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak,” he said.

That’s part of the reason for going with the pistol offense: the Mountain Lions are better at the skill positions than they are along the line. In a few years maybe that will change, and so to could the offensive scheme.

Until then, Foss will try to find an edge anywhere he can. There are going to be some bumps this season, which starts with tonight’s 7 p.m. game against Cimarron-Memorial High. No matter what they’re running, Foss believes he’ll learn a lot about his team by how they handle those difficulties.

“We need to get them to fight through adversity. That’s going to be the big thing,” he said.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at

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