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St. Anthony’s new option: The spread

St. Anthony's quarterback Greg Galligan scrambles in the

St. Anthony's quarterback Greg Galligan scrambles in the second quarter of the NYCHSFL varsity football Class AAA championship game vs. Chaminade at Mitchel Athletic Complex. (Dec. 1, 2012) (Credit: James Escher)

At St. Anthony’s, the vaunted triple-option is dead. Long live the spread.

“We weren’t running enough plays and teams were dictating to us who was going to run the ball,” St. Anthony’s coach Rich Reichert said of the dramatic switch in offensive philosophy for the CHSFL powerhouse.

So returning quarterback Greg Galligan won’t take the pounding he did last year, whether he kept the ball himself or waited to the last second before pitching out. Now, he frequently will hand off to a pair of fleet and strong running backs, junior Jordan Gowins and senior Naim Jones.

“We went to the spread – kind of what Oregon does,” Reichert said. “We’re getting off plays as quickly as we can. No huddle.”

Reichert said that the Friars, perennial CHSFL champs who were defeated in the title game last year by Chaminade, averaged 50.5 offensive plays per game the last two season – not enough. “We want to see if we can add 15-20 plays a game. I think we can,” said Reichert, who last year became the winningest coach in Suffolk County history. “The quarterback loves it. The backs love it. We think we have really good slot receivers who know how to get open and good wideouts. We talked about doing it before. This was the year to do it.”

So, for the first time in more than 20 years, the Friars won’t be in the familiar triple-option. That brings a smile to the face of Gowins, who is looking for a breakout junior season after returning from an ankle injury and adding some muscle.“I’m looking forward to getting the extra workload. It’s something different,” Gowins said. “Naim and I are hoping to get 25 carries a game each.”

Reichert said that his offense in recent years made it “impossible to keep the backs happy. With the option, we didn’t know who was getting the ball and there were some games that because of what the defense took away from us, our best player got the ball seven times. Now we have plays where we’ll just give it to one of our guys.”

St. Anthony’s will run the spread but won’t spread the wealth quite as much.

Tags: St. Anthony's , Rich Reichert , Greg Galligan , Naim Jones , Justin Gowins , football , CHSFL

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