The pistol, the spread, the the run-and-shoot, the spread option, the West Coast ... high school football has seen an explosion of schemes intended to agitate defenses and create space for agile skill players.
Teams rarely huddle, speed trumps size and the emphasis is on avoiding defenders, not blocking them. The goal is a one-on-one, open-field matchup between a runner and defender.
The philosophy has spread like wildfire across Northern California, but isolated pockets of resistance still remain.
These teams mass linemen at the point of attack, exploiting their physical play to bust open holes for running backs.
It's become flash versus smash.
Don't expect flash and dash Saturday when Oakdale faces Clayton Valley for the NorCal Division 2 championship at Lincoln High in Stockton.
Both exploit a blitzkrieg approach, massing five, six and even seven players at one location to blast a hole. Clayton Valley has nine kids blocking on most plays, while Oakdale will even gets its quarterback involved in blocking at times.
It's the battle of wings: Clayton Valley's double-wing versus Oakdale's Wing-T. Each team is convinced its wing is best, and the winner will get more than bragging rights it gets a berth in the D2 State Bowl.
The double-wing has made a star of Joe Protheroe: He is fourth in the state with 2,900 rushing yards, including 450 in a semifinal playoff victory. He's learned to use the blockers, hesitating to allow a lane to be created or using a different route if the hole collapses.
It's football as its most basic level: numerical superiority. By pulling linemen from one side of the field, putting them in motion to exploit their size and momentum, an offense is able to use six or seven blockers versus four of five defenders.
This is your dad's football, an era when game films were black and white, when fields were grass or maybe mud. The greatest risk to injury for many defenders in this era of high-octane offenses is a muscle pull, or perhaps fatigue.
When you play a team with the wing, double or T, you're going to be sore all weekend.
"You're going to get hit every play, and hit hard," noted Oakdale fullback Nikk Ryan, whose 27 runs led to 170 yards in Friday's 22-9 win over Vista del Lago for a section title. "When the guard pulls, he's getting a running start to hit that defender. That guy on defense doesn't always see that blocker, and gets blown up."
Clayton Valley can top that, pulling a guard and tackle to the side of the line where Protheroe is headed. On many of his runs, Protheroe is beyond the line before first contact.
The sheer volume of blockers can seal defenders behind a wall. The velocity created by a 230-pound linemen in motion can put the most physical linebackers on their butts.
The psychological blow can be as devastating as the physical hit, if the defender is worrying about a blindside block rather than the ballcarrier.
"You get tired of that guard coming around and hittin' on you," Ryan said. "It wears on a defense, those constant collisions. With so many teams in a spread, defenses aren't used to getting knocked around."
Bee staff writer Richard T. Estrada can be reached at (209) 578-2300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.