Friendly football coach George Earley does not remember many of the plays that his record-setting offense made in winning the Maryland 3A state title last year. Likely because there were so many.
Friendly scored a state-record 135 points in the three playoff games, beating Bel Air (41-7), Broadneck (49-13) and Eastern Tech of Baltimore in the title game (45-29). Overall, the Patriots had 11 touchdowns of at least 24 yards in the playoffs.
"I do not remember many specific plays or touchdowns," said Earley, whose team started slowly this year and finished 3-7. "I do remember how much fun that team had during that season and in the playoffs."
But effective playoff offenses sometimes can be built in a week or two. Gonzaga used a rare off-week before its Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinal against St. John's in 1995 to practice a double-pass -- then used the play for the game-winning touchdown with 22 seconds left in a 21-14 victory over the Cadets.
Two years later, Gonzaga was trailing DeMatha by seven in the third quarter of the WCAC title game when Eagles Coach Maus Collins switched to a single-wing passing attack -- even though the game was being played in a rainstorm. Collins said the team had practiced the offense all week, when forecasters had called for dry weather on the night of the game.
Gonzaga scored 14 second-half points en route to its 14-7 victory. But similar rainy weather hindered Handley's record-breaking offense in its run to the 1994 Virginia AA Division 3 title. The Judges eventually defeated Gate City, 12-7, in a game played in rainy and muddy conditions.
Handley quarterback Brian Partlow, who finished the season with three state passing records, completed just 5 of 20 passes for 55 yards against Gate City.
"We were frustrated by the weather and the mud, it hampered our offense," said then-coach Ron Lindon, now the school's athletic director. "We wound up going to a two-back offense for the first time all year because of the weather. But the key was we had a balanced offense and ran the ball better than people gave us credit for."