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#FlashbackFriday: 4A teams with old-school offenses in the limelight ahead of 5A, 6A debut

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By Tess Demeyer 6:49 PM on Sep 17, 2020

The following is part of an article published recently in the Dallas Morning News Sports Day. It features in part the Kennedale football program and Head Coach/Athletic Director Richard Barrett. The full article can be read @ https://www.dallasnews.com/high-school-sports/football/2020/09/17/flashbackfriday-4a-teams-with-old-school-offenses-in-the-limelight-ahead-of-5a-6a-debut/

In the age of pass-happy, high-flying spread offenses, finding teams that emphasize the run game requires a little bit of hunting.

Like mullets and Miami Vice, Wing-T and Flexbone offenses peaked in the ’80s and faded in popularity by the ’90s, but a sudden shift in Texas football focus has brought them back into the spotlight.

Because Class 5A and 6A football seasons were delayed because of COVID-19, teams at smaller schools became the center of attention, and a few utilize offensive formations that are a blast from the past.

The game between Aubrey and Terrell slated for Friday night is a rare clash of old-school offenses. Both teams run the Wing-T, a run-heavy scheme that uses fakes, counters and reverses to gradually move the chains and drain the clock.

Aubrey head coach Keith Ivy learned the offense from his father, a former head coach at Sanger, and has relied on it over the last decade. In its first three games of the season, Aubrey has outrushed its opponents by a total of 953 yards and averaged a 34-point margin of victory. In Week 1, 505 of the Chaparrals’ 570 total yards came on the ground. More than 200 of the 270 total yards in Week 2, and 484 of the 658 yards in Week 3 were all rushing.

… But they aren’t the only teams in 4A with vintage playing styles. Kennedale head coach Richard Barrett has been running the Wing-T for 42 years, and he has no plans to follow the trend of frequent passing.

“We tell our kids, ‘Let’s get 4 yards a play.’ If we break a long one, that’s so much better. But let’s be consistent in what we do,” he said. “We want to control the clock, move the chains, make first downs, score when given the opportunity, milk the clock, limit the other team’s possessions. That’s our philosophy. That’s what we want to do.”

Barrett’s time-tested philosophy continues to get Kennedale places, like 19 straight postseason appearances and a runner-up finish in the 2017 Class 5A Division state championship.

The consistent success has spurred quite a few headlines over the years — notably during Kennedale’s 2017 run to the state title — but the influx of publicity is unlike any of Barrett’s previous seasons.

When Kennedale kicked off its season against Sunnyvale last week, multiple publications jumped on the chance to cover the 4A matchup as the fate of Friday night lights still hangs in the balance.

Barrett called the flurry of media attention “crazy” and rattled off outlets that requested interviews. “I had people from The Dallas Morning NewsThe Star-TelegramFox Southwest, The Football Brainiacs, USA Today and others [reach out],” he said. “It’s like, ‘Man, wow! I’ve never heard of all these people!’”

Ivy and Sedberry have also noticed their teams getting more coverage than normal.

“I told our kids today at practice, ‘It’s kind of cool right now with the 5A and 6As not playing, us little schools getting the attention,’” Sedberry said. “I think it’s well-deserved attention by everybody because I think in Texas there’s good football played at every level.”

The first few weeks of the 4A season haven’t indicated teams are keen on rehashing old offensive formations, but the return of the mullets in COVID-19 quarantine and recent rumors of an upcoming Miami Vice reboot may be a sign that the Wing-T will turn some heads in 2020 too.

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