In a 29-16 loss to No. 11 Urbana last Thursday, Frederick racked up 447 yards of total offense against a Hawks defense that is annually one of Maryland's toughest. The next night, Jefferson's offense amassed 374 total yards in a 28-14 victory at Yorktown.
Neither team's offense used a single huddle in the entire game, instead opting, as is their usual custom, to quickly get up to the line of scrimmage and call in plays from the sidelines.
While many teams run no-huddle offenses in late-game situations, and other teams display it on occasion to throw off opponents, Jefferson (5-1), Frederick (6-1) and Park View (5-1) regularly employ it for almost the entire game.
"I think it gives us a little bit of an advantage, when we can use all the advantages we can get," Jefferson Coach Tim O'Reilly said.
Yorktown Coach Bruce Hanson admitted that the Jefferson offense caused some troubles for the Patriots' defense. Colonials quarterback Matt Wong threw or ran the ball on 69 of Jefferson's 72 offensive plays and had 364 total yards.
"Jefferson does it as well as anybody," Hanson said. The no-huddle "is tough to deal with, because we had to call our defenses from the line of scrimmage."
O'Reilly said he developed the no-huddle style while he was coaching at Salem High in Virginia Beach, where the offense was used by rival Ocean Lakes.
Frederick Coach Vince Ahearn installed the system as an extension of a successful two-minute offense, and he found it to be a good way to gain an edge in a tough county that includes Urbana and defending 3A state champ Linganore.
Park View Coach Charlie Pierce formerly worked with Ahearn at Frederick, and the two said they continue to work together to build their systems, both of which involve multiple formations and receivers in motion.
In all three teams' systems, most of the offensive players wear wristbands listing all of the plays, which are called either vocally or with hand signals. Each generally works out of the shotgun, and the actual tempo varies through the game but is rarely hurried. All three also have capable, experienced quarterbacks at the helm: Jefferson's Wong, Frederick's Cory Rhodes and Park View's Steven Blankenship.
"You can keep pressure on the defense and keep them from making substitutions," Pierce said. "You are essentially setting the tempo to anyway you want. You can really wear down the other team by the third or fourth quarter."
Frederick added a twist last week to throw off Urbana. A Cadets coach would announce the play to three junior varsity players standing by his side, and the three players, in unison, held up note cards of different colors with printed numbers denoting the play.
"We don't normally do it," Ahearn said, "but it's something we had in our back pocket."