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EARLIER: Smash-n-Dash

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A versatile running game compliments spread passing attack

By Todd Martin

Since the SCHS football team moved to the Spread offense in 2006, the Rockets have had just seven 100 yard rushing games.

But in the season opener last week, SCHS had two backs – Quinten Cottrell and Edwin Thomas – within a whisker of 100 yards, with 96 and 93, respectively.

Welcome to the Smash-n-Dash Show.

Combining the around-the-edge speed of Cottrell and Thomas – Dash – with the size and force between the tackles of Nigel Beach (6 feet 4, 255 pounds) and Kris Taylor (6-0, 220) – Smash – the Rockets are looking to open up the ground game to go with the high-octane passing game they’ve become known for over the past three years.

Those four came up with their Smash-N-Dash name, and offensive coordinator Jerry Lucas has helped make it stick.

But even more important is the fact that it’s working.

“Our passing game wasn’t as sharp last week [against Bryan Station] as we had hoped,” Lucas said. “But because Bryan Station refused to bring their safeties up, it opened up a lot of room for those guys. They made them pay for not coming up and trying to stop them.”

North Hardin, tonight's opponent for the home opener, has several key players that play both offense and defense, and the run game could be a factor in long drives tonight that wear out the Trojans.

The biggest thing about the quartet is that you can go straight speed, straight power or mix and match.

Lucas noted that Beach and Taylor are very underrated blockers from the fullback position, and that they were a big part in helping Cottrell and Thomas break free for big yards.

Plus, when you mix, match and rotate, everybody stays fresh.

“It’s great because we can get some rest,” Taylor said.

Said Cottrell: “Most of us go both ways [playing offense and defense], so this way nobody gets tired and we can still be effective.”

Taylor and Cottrell are the two starting safeties, and Beach anchors the defensive line.

Last week while Cottrell and Thomas got all the yards – 189 of 203 – it was Beach that got both rushing TDs on runs of 2 and 1 yards.

But these backs are not glory hounds.

“Oh, we’ll get our share of touchdowns, too,” Cottrell said, “but yards are good. It’s all good if we’re scoring.”

Beach knows when his number will be called.

“If they get close and don’t make it, whether it’s a first down or a touchdown I know I’m coming in,” he said.

“Me and Eddie just have to hope we break one,” Cottrell said jokingly. “We know if it’s inside a few yards we’re coming out.”

That fun-loving nature between the four is what makes the system work.

“If they’ll let us, we’ll just run all night,” Thomas said. “We love it – it doesn’t matter who gets the ball.”

But all four know that it will take the full version of the offense to get the Rocket’s first victory this season.

“We’d like to run all night, but we’ll take what every the other team can’t stop,” Cottrell said. “If we can pull the safeties up and then beat them deep with the pass, that’s fine.”

Added Thomas: “Or if we can run all over them all night, we’ll take that too. Even if it’s the big guys getting all the carries and beating them up.”

Whatever it is that North Hardin will give them – Smash, Dash or a vertical passing game – the Rockets have shown that they’ll be ready to deliver.