Author: Adam Wesoloski
Originally Published: October 17, 2005

A few weeks ago I took a little road trip with my 7-year old son to see Menominee, Michigan’s freshman football team. I was invited by their head coach Jeff Bayerl, whom I’ve know since I was in 6th grade. It so happened that Paul Shanklin was in town from New Jersey as well so it was an opportunity to see him as well.

I really enjoy seeing these games and especially watching future varsity players just beginning their high school careers. The job that Jeff and his cousin Mark do at this level is so important for the Menominee program. They are laying the foundation that will propel these young players to become fundamentally sound football players that will supply the varsity squad with talent in two years.

It was a beautiful evening in the U.P. that Thursday evening. Fall was slowly making it’s way and single wing football was on tap versus their arch-rival, Kingsford, MI. This was the second time these two have met this season and I was in for a treat. It was truly a slugfest.

The final score was 14-6 in Menominee’s favor to keep the season long victory streak for the entire program. The varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams were undefeated at the time.

All the scoring in this contest was done in the first half. The Maroons used a mix of single wing formations, left and right, along with the “Beast” formation. In the second half the stand off commenced as both teams couldn’t make paydirt although Menominee dominated the play. Menominee’s offense was of interest to me in this half. Essentially they ran two plays the entire second half. It was either tailback off-tackle to the strong side or fullback off-tackle to the weak side.

Jeff described it as, “Our 32 Slant is our weak side off-tackle play. 48 Blast is our strong side off-tackle play. We play 12-minute quarters and we had roughly 48 plays in that game. Our tailback had 23 carries, all were off tackle on blast or beast. Our fullback had roughly 12 to 15 tough carries that night. Basic description of 32 Slant is the tight end kicks his man out, the tackle blocks his man down, quarterback (blocking back) and tailback lead into the hole and the fullback runs parallel to the line of scrimmage and up into the 2 hole.”

They began the half with an over nine minute long drive, their second of the night. They were able to control the line of scrimmage all game and the players made important first downs when needed. Defensively they made two crucial red-zone stands in the second and fourth quarters respectively.

After the game I found Jeff with his team on the field and he was very excited and commented on what a wonderful game it was. He also pointed out that my son is his good luck charm — this was the third game in which we attended and his team has won all three. I told Jeff that his tailback and fullback have to be the tallest tandem I’ve seen playing in a single wing backfield. One is 6’3″ and the other 6’4″ — 9th graders!