not to avoid chagrin, but to keep
defenses on their heels. It’s high-pressure, fast-paced, no-huddle
football. The more snaps the better
is the estimation of most coaches. A
flip pass out in flat is just as good as
a run off tackle. By its very nature,
the spread employs three to five receiver packages designed to stretch
the field from sideline to sideline.
The evolution of chuck-and-duck
is evident with a quick glance at
the all-time pass leaders across
the Lone Star State. Not a single
one listed among the top 25 played
varsity ball before 1999. Note the
progression of leading passers
through the years. In the 1970s,
San Antonio Lee’s Tommy Kramer
was the standard for passing quarterbacks as he totaled 5,489 yards
from 1970-72. His record stood
nearly 15 years before San Antonio
Southwest and 1990 Heisman winner Ty Detmer rang up 8,006 from
After changing hands several
times over the next decade, Baytown Lee’s Drew Tate closed out
a four-year run with 12,183 yards
in 2002. That mark was promptly
surpassed when Graham Harrell of
Ennis finished his four-year career
with 12,532 in 2003. Lake Travis
product Garrett Gilbert ascended to
the top with 12,537 yards amassed
from 2006-2008 and won three
Gilbert’s stay on top as all-time
leading passer in the state was
ended this past fall when Refugio’s Travis Quintanilla moved to
the head of the class. Quintanilla
capped a brilliant three-year career
with 14,223 yards and wears the
crown as the state’s top passer. It’s
probably just a matter of time before someone zips past Quintanilla.
One program that took the spread
to new heights in the early 2000s
was Southlake Carroll. Chase Daniel and Riley Dodge finished star-studded careers with 8,378 and
8,246, respectively. Former SLC and
current Austin Westlake coach Todd
Dodge was among the first coaches
to realize tremendous dividends
from implementing the spread.
Dodge had learned from an early
age the importance of the forward
pass. He prepped at Port Arthur
Jefferson in 1979-1980 and excelled under the tutelage of Ronnie
Thompson. In the era of ground-and-pound, Dodge was one of those rare
passers, throwing for 5,642 yards in
Following a legendary prep career
he made the transition to legendary
taskmaster. Dodge was respon-
sible for the SLC juggernaut that
carved a gaudy 79-1 and won four
state championships from 2002-
2006. With the enormous success,
Dodge’s coaching office became
busier than I- 30 at quitting time.
Coaches from all across the
state made visits to the Carroll field
house. They looked to Dodge for
secrets to the spread success.
“In high school we had ran out
of a variety of formations from the
wing-T, to the spread and shotgun.
My coach Ronnie Thompson was
instrumental in instilling in me the
importance of quarterback-receiver
relationships, said Dodge, who has
a 124-46 high school coaching ledger with the four state crowns.
“We had some real good teams in
2000 and 2001. But it wasn’t until
we installed the no-huddle spread
that our results got better. I believe
the success of the spread is central
to spreading the wealth. You’ve got
to get the ball to as many players as
possible. When we’ve been our most
successful we’ve had four to five
receivers average 40 to 50 catches.
This makes it tough for defenses to
defend by personnel,” said Dodge.
East Texas has seen its fair share
of talented gunslingers flourish in
the spread, or some reasonable
guise of the offense. G.J. Kinne
started out at Canton and finished
up at Gilmer in 2006. His 11,750
yards ranks him fifth all time and
tops in East Texas.
Another Gilmer product, Darian
Godfrey, passed for 9,392 yards in
2008 and 2009 to place in the top
20 at 18. Godfrey guided Gilmer
to the 2009 state championship.
Putting the impact of today’s vertical game in perspective, you’d
have to go back to the early 80s to
find the first real modern-day prolific passer in East Texas. Ore City’s
Mark Motley compiled 5,243 yards
from 1980 to 1983. Godfrey nearly
doubled the career totals of Motley
in half the time at Gilmer.
Longtime Gilmer boss Jeff Traylor credits Dodge among those
coaches with a significant influence
on his offensive philosophy. Traylor
says Dodge and former Ennis coach
Sam Harrell both gave a lot of their
time to help out a young coach.
“Coach Dodge was always more
than willing to sit down and talk.
He gave a ton of his time. He and
Coach Harrell were both very big
influences,” said Traylor.
The longtime Gilmer chief said
one of the advantages to running
the spread when he took over in
2000 was the exclusivity of it. Few
in the East Texas area had made
the switch from plowing to passing
and Gilmer was sort of on the cutting edge.
“When we started 14 years ago,
we ran the spread. We ran it primar-
ily because no one else did. Now,
the majority of our opponents run
the offense. So I don’t know that
we have any real advantage over
anyone else,” said Traylor.
While true more schools may
indeed run the spread today than
in the past, few run it with the degree of efficiency and success as
Traylor’s Buckeyes, which have won
state titles in 2004 and 2009, playing for two more in 2007 and 2012.
“Ultimately, it’s an offense driven
by personnel. We always try to
add a different wrinkle each year.
The offense itself has evolved.
And seven-on-seven has definitely
played a role in the evolving of the
passing game,” said Traylor, who
has an impressive 148-24 mark at
his alma mater.
Recently graduated Blake Bogenshutz capped his four-year
career at Carthage by throwing for
4,043 yards and 57 TDs. Bogenshutz, who wound up 16th all-time
on the state list with 9,584 yards,
guided his Carthage team to a state
title in December. It was the second
brass ring collected by the Bulldog
signal-caller. Prior to Bogenshutz,
Anthony Morgan piled up 7,024
yards through the air and garnered
a state title for Carthage.
“People just don’t have patience.
They want everything fast. And it
does put fans in the stands, said
Carthage coach Scott Surratt, when
asked about the spread explosion.
“We have six paces from fast to
muddle huddle. Our quarterbacks
Austin Westlake coach
Todd Dodge teaches his
players the concepts
initiated by Rusty Russell.