Thursday, October 18, 2007

Monterey's old-school offense works

Article published Oct 18, 2007
Monterey's old-school offense works

The only thing missing from the Monterey High School football team is leather helmets, watermelon-sized footballs, wooden goal posts and a hand-operated scoreboard.

Monterey football is the team time forgot. It plays football the Knute Rockne way - blocking, running and tackling.

It was good enough for teams in the 1940s to play that way, and it's been good enough for the Toreadores some 60 years later.

Somewhere in the Monterey playbook is the single-wing, flying wedge, statue of liberty and the drop kick.

If there will ever be another Four Horseman from the "outlined against a blue, gray October sky, the Four Horseman rode again'' fame, they'll probably be found in the Monterey High backfield some day.

While the trend is to go with the spread offense, flood the field with receivers and turn the sport of football into basketball on grass, Monterey simply runs the ball down your throat.

In the 20 years that The Salinas Californian has been tracking prep football statistics, Monterey has thrown for more than 1,000 yards just once. Seven years ago Adam Johnson threw for 1,206.

In six games this year the Toreadores have thrown for less than 300 yards. Last year they passed for 400. In 2005, it was 480 yards.

In 2003, Monterey's starting quarterback passed for a grand total of 245 yards, or about as many as Gilroy High typically throws for in the first half these days.

But it's always been that way at Monterey, at least as long as Pete Noble has been the head coach.

In 1993 and 1992, Noble's Monterey teams threw for less than 300 yards each season.

And, oh by the way. Noble has had only one losing season in his last 13 years as head coach.

His teams have also advanced to the playoffs eight times in his last nine tries - the last three years at Monterey, before that at Gonzales in 2002 and again with Monterey from 1991-1994.

The Toreadores (3-3 overall, 1-0 in MBL) will roll out their old-school attack Friday when they visit Watsonville (1-4-1, 0-1) for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

But what makes Monterey a tough team to defend is that just when it lulls you to sleep with its methodical running game, it puts the ball in the air.

The Toreadores pick their spots to pass and the results have been rather remarkable. Quarterback Jeremy Wright has thrown 11 passes (total), completed eight, four for touchdowns and is averaging about 27 yards per completion.

You can almost here someone saying, "Sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper, I mean Pete.''

Whether or not it's a blue, gray October sky Friday, make it Monterey 23, Monte Vista Christian

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