Originally Published: July 18, 2011
Author: Jeff Cziska
Since my first year of coaching in 1990, I have experienced many ups and downs along the way. *I’ve only coached 9-1/2 seasons over the past two decades. The other years away from coaching were mainly due to health related issues, but I did get the opportunity to play some college ball in 1994 and 1995. Despite not being on the field as much as I would have liked, I have scouted five seasons for some of the coaches I have befriended along the way. I’ve also done some consulting. Although football is a huge part of my life, I honestly believe that my own personal challenges have given me the perspective to see what I value most: Christ, family, and finally football. A day does not pass in which I am not working on something football related; all of the spare time has brought about some interesting ideas. I’ve been lucky enough to use these ideas myself or find someone willing to try them out.
In 2004 we implemented the Double Wing at Southeastern Regional Voc-Tech (South Easton, MA). It was a special year as the season was dedicated to Hawk football player Jason Farwell. Jason passed away in July after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was our 12th player on the field. Head Coach Ned Scaduto did an amazing job that season as he was able to shelter a team in crisis all while running a new offensive system. We began the season a disappointing 0-4-1, but our players never quit, just as Jason never did. By the end of the season, we had accomplished something that no sports team in our school’s history had ever done. We were crowned the Division IV Eastern Massachusetts Super Bowl Champions. A year later we defended our title using the Wildcat in conjunction with our base Double Wing. Sophomore fullback A.J. Goucher was named Most Valuable Player. The Wildcat was working so well that during the game radio announcers rarely knew who had the ball. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for our opponent. Our opening drive chewed up all but :51 of the first quarter. Our opponent ran just five plays in the first half.
The Spinner came about after running Hugh Wyatt’s Wildcat in 2005 and coming across the Spin the Cat page. I would highly recommend this page to any coach as there are some hidden gems there. The next season was a time of dramatic change for us. Our Offensive Coordinator John Sawyer stepped down to work on his Master’s Degree, and the offensive reins were handed to me. I was confronted with the daunting task of trying to maintain the success we had enjoyed over the past two seasons, while dealing with the graduation of 6 of 7 starters on the offensive line and both wingbacks (one that was named the Division IV Player of the Year). We stormed out of the gates that season and lost on the last play of the game. The next week we lost 42-28 to Nantucket, after holding a 28-14 lead going into the 4th quarter. To make matters worse, our starting center was speared while long-snapping (a cheap shot), and our backup center left the game with a concussion. To make matters worse, a starting guard quit the team after the game.Read More