It was not exactly "12 Angry Men," the classic 1957 film in which jurors struggle to determine a young man's innocence or guilt. But there were similarities between the movie and reality when the Osbourn football coaches congregated in the spring.
The issue: whether to stick with the single-wing offense or switch to a more wide-open spread attack. Instead of a jury room, the coaches' bunker was a cabin at Bryce Mountain, where single-wing loyalists had it out with spread proponents.
"We were spitting fire and arguing," said fourth-year Osbourn coach Steve Schultze, who was leaning toward a change in scheme. "We were battling. It was a lot of fun. . . . I wanted [the single-wing guys'] input to make sure we just weren't abandoning something, because you can lose your kids' faith in your program if you jump from one system to the next. So we wanted to be cautious and careful about it."
Schultze had the final call, and he believed his team would be best served by converting to the spread to stretch the field horizontally and vertically and better utilize a stable of speedy skill position players. The fact that two huge tackles, Kyle Grouge and Chris Taylor, were departing seniors cemented the determination that the Eagles' mildly successful smash-mouth days were behind them.
"We thought it would make us a better team," Schultze said. "That's the bottom line."
So far, it has done just that. Osbourn is off to its first 2-0 start in well over a decade and has won consecutive games in the same season for the first time since 1997, the school's second year in Virginia AAA.
But tomorrow's opponent, Potomac (2-0), should provide a far stiffer test than Brooke Point (a 16-14 win) and Forest Park (a 55-14 victory) the past two weeks.
Osbourn's offense revolves around junior quarterback Brandon Hogan, who has passed for 371 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 250 and two more scores. When Schultze was an assistant at Loudoun County High School, he coached Brandon's brother, Eddie, a 1,000-yard rusher.
"I just knew we were going to put up more points and numbers," said the younger Hogan, who scored on a 98-yard touchdown scamper on the Eagles' first series this season and has 250 of the team's 289 rushing yards. "It just feels more open, especially when I roll out. They don't know if I'm going to run it or pass it."
During the offseason, it was pass and pass and pass and pass. The Eagles were involved in several passing camps and leagues; there were three Osbourn teams in a Loudoun County-based league, including one that won the title. Those experiences enabled Hogan and receivers such as senior Junior Sesay to establish routes and rhythm.
Hogan's 15 completions this season have gone to six Eagles. Sesay has five catches for 139 yards and senior Justin Turner caught two touchdown passes against Forest Park. Senior Julian Hooks had the other scoring grab.
Senior center Matt Lahna spent much of his summer practicing snapping the ball into a bucket he had stuck on a ladder to give him a better feel for operating out of the shotgun.
"We were excited to try something new," Lahna said. "We'd been trying the single wing, and it had been working with some success, but passing the ball we can break the big plays. . . . We gain the momentum off the big plays and we go out there and know we're going to succeed and we believe in ourselves. We're going to do big things."
The Eagles' playbook is a hodgepodge of influences, from a Tennessee high school coach that Schultze consulted to old Bowling Green college playbooks from when offensive guru Urban Meyer -- now at the University of Florida -- coached there.
Schultze and his staff also hit the clinic circuit, dropping in on any spread session they could find. What they picked up they blended with their own terminology to ease the transition from single wing (an offense they still dust off from time to time) to spread.
That transition has not been entirely seamless -- the Eagles have been penalized 18 times in two games, mostly for offensive infractions. But the 71 points scored so far equal the number of points Schultze's first Osbourn team totaled all season.
Starting this week, however, the competition stiffens, with 2004 playoff qualifiers Potomac, Woodbridge and Stonewall Jackson as three of the next five opponents; Osbourn Park (2-0) is also on the schedule during that span.
"I'm looking forward to playing Potomac," Sesay said. "It's going to be a real challenge. We can see how good we really are."