Monarch gridders must contend with Davidson’s veer offense


Marysville’s Chase Kilgore (20) is stopped on this play against Westland. The Monarchs will travel to Hilliard Davidson on Friday.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
It’s an offense that isn’t seen very much in football these days.
However, it’s one that the Hilliard Davidson Wildcats have run very successfully for a number of years.
The Marysville Monarchs will encounter Davidson’s midline veer when they travel to the Wildcats’ field on Friday.
The veer is an option offense that was used by a number of college gridiron squads back in the 1970s and 1980s.
The advent of the pass-oriented spread offense has put formations like the veer and wishbone in mothballs.
Davidson is one of the few teams that hasn’t changed much to its offense over the years.
“They run the football a lot,” said Monarch coach Brent Johnson. “They are very disciplined and patient in what they do.”
The Wildcats have used a couple of quarterbacks this fall in senior A.J. VanVoorhis and junior Carson Felicitty.
Either signal-caller will run the ball, which means the Monarchs will have to keep the QB in check, according to Johnson.
The Wildcats do have other weapons in the backfield in fullback Kalib O’Connor and wingback Jordan Hicks.
The skill position players operate behind a solid offensive line.
“It’s a typical Hilliard Davidson offensive line,” said Johnson. “They are strong and athletic and they play with very good pad level.”
Davidson will not put the ball in the air very often.
“In three films we’ve seen, they’ve thrown the ball eight times,” said Johnson. “Actually, that’s a little more than what we’ve seen from them in years past.”
While the veer is a rarely-used formation, Johnson said Davidson’s formations are similar to the Monarchs, who will take a 3-5 record into the contest.
“That’s good for us,” he said. “However, it’s very difficult to simulate the speed of the veer offense in practice. It generally takes us about one series to get adjusted to it.”
What must the Monarchs do to combat such an “old-school” offense?
“Option football like the veer is assignment football as far as a defense is concerned,” said Johnson. “We will have one guy assigned to their pitch man and another to the (fullback) dive.
“We will have to be disciplined in our assignments,” he said.
Davidson will throw a five-man defensive front at the Monarchs.
“We have consistently seen that this season,” said Johnson. “The guys are getting comfortable with their blocking assignments against a five-man front.”
The Wildcats are very good in attacking an opposing team’s pulling guards.
Defensive ends Gage Keys and Josiah Ezirim will do their best to try and spill the Monarchs’ running game to the outside.
“We’ve got to be able to get the ‘dirty three yards,’” said Johnson. “This game is going to be a grit-test for us.”
Davidson will also take an uncharacteristic 3-5 record into Friday evening’s game.
That mark may be somewhat deceiving, since four of those setbacks have come by a combined total of 17 points.
The Wildcats’ four close losses have come against 5-3 Hilliard Darby (9-6 in overtime), 6-2 Olentangy Liberty (17-10), 4-4 Lancaster (14-10) and 6-2 Dublin Coffman (17-14).
“They have played some really good football teams and have been in those games,” said Johnson.
Friday’s contest will pit two squads that like to keep the ball on the ground.
As such, possessions are going to be critical to each team’s success.
“Possessions are going to be limited for both teams since we both like to run the ball,” said the Monarch coach. “We have to take advantage of each possession and score points off them.”
While the season has been a disappointment to date, Johnson said his team is keeping its collective heads up.
“The guys are holding up pretty well,” he said. “They know they have been close in a number of games.
“Right now, we’re paying more attention to our process of playing physical with great effort, than paying attention to our record.”

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