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Tigers' offense showing teeth with new offensive coordinator

By John Clayton, Staff Reporter
Published on Thursday, September 13, 2012

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Shane Clark, Blue Ridge offensive coordinator, made a few tweaks to get the Tigers' into high gear.

Shane Clark, Blue Ridge offensive coordinator, made a few tweaks to get the Tigers' into high gear.

New quarterback. New offensive coordinator. New offensive line.

No problem.

Blue Ridge Head Football Coach Wade Cooper seemed akin to Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman with a "What? Me worry?" disposition, which has since been rewarded with a 3-0 start and an offensive unit that appears determined to be as prolific as its recent predecessors.

"It's still our system, we've used this system the last ten years and Coach (Shane) Clark has put his own special touch to it," said Cooper. "These guys have responded real well to it and are doing an outstanding job with it."

Former offensive coordinator Jason Farmer, who was at Blue Ridge for four years and at Spartanburg in the same capacity before that, left to take over as head coach at Woodmont. That opened the door for Clark, the former Travelers Rest head coach and offensive coordinator who has spent the past two seasons on Blue Ridge's defensive staff.

So far, the transition has gone off without a hitch.

After scoring 27 points in each of their first two victories of the season against Class 4A competition, the Tigers erupted for 552 total yards and 59 points in a 59-35 win over visiting Chapman Friday night. By comparison, the Tigers scored 62 against the largely defenseless Panthers in 2011.

"I felt like we had the talent coming back to run what we'd be running, but we made a few tweaks here and there," Clark said. "We want to use the advantages our kids have and coach to their talents, otherwise we wouldn't be very good coaches."

Under Clark, Blue Ridge's potent spread offense takes advantage of the running ability of Ty Montgomery as well as his arm, featuring "zone read" option plays that were a largely unused portion of the playbook if there at all before this year.

Against Chapman, the big plays came in bunches with four touchdowns coming from more than 20 yards out, including two of more than 50 yards, and a 70-yard Mikal Robinson run that set up another.

"He's awesome to work with," Montgomery said of Clark. "He knows the game. When it comes to football, it's like second nature. It's easy to talk to him. If I have a question, he's there quick with an answer, so he's a real good coach."

Clark said the feeling is mutual."

The kids we have, they fight hard," he said. "I don't think it'd matter what system we put out there, our kids would fight and find a way to be successful."

 Blue Ridge plays at Eastside Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the teams’ first Peach Blossom 3A conference game.

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