By Marcelo Metzelar, Contributing Writer
This week’s AFT Network’s Play of the Week comes to us courtesy of the Carolina Havoc. Down 54-59 with a second left on the clock and the ball inside the Cape Fear 5-yard line on the left hash mark; Havoc quarterback, Daryll Clark finds receiver, Alex Coleman, in the front left corner of the end zone for the walk off score. Exciting play, but what did Coach Anson Yarborough call and why?
It starts off with the formation. Although terminology may differ from team to team, they started off with a “bunch right formation" that looks like the figure below:
But that’s not all. American Arena League rules allow one offensive player to be in forward motion. This is not allowed in the 11-man outdoor game and is unique to this version of the sport. Getting the inside most receiver (the y-receiver) in position to motion forward means he needs to align further back or use what’s called “Y-back” motion.
Since the defensive back is in a stand still position, this gives the Y-receiver the advantage. Should the defensive back begin motioning back to match the offensive player’s speed, the quarterback could just throw a quick inside route – they only needed 2-yards. Should the defensive back hold his ground, the Y-receiver has a speed advantage and get passed him for a pass over the top. Even the curve of the motion is used for deception. Running toward his teammates, the Y-receiver could use them to create a natural pick.
The fullback’s alignment to the left of the center gives the formation balance. Yes, there are more players on the right, but they are spread out. Positioning the fullback to the left allows for a power running game to the left, forcing the defense to protect that part of the field shallower than ideally desired. It can also be used for extra protection on a quarterback rollout to the left.
Coach Yarborough called a flood play. In a flood play, the receivers layer themselves toward one sideline so that quarterback has two reads: whether the defense is in zone or man coverage! In zone, a defense is forced to make a choice between two open receivers. In man, they have to cover the receiver for an extended period of time. The longer a defensive back is in coverage, the greater the breakdown in coverage. Cape Fear was in man coverage.
The Y-receiver’s responsibility is to clear out his defender. Versus man coverage, the Y’s defender will follow him deep and open the middle of the field. A defense doesn’t want to assign that responsibility to the middle defender, because he will be beat by Y every time since Y in full speed motion.
The X-receiver does a shallow cross to the left. His defender does a good job of defending but in the process, forces the Jack linebacker (the linebacker that’s aligned further back) to remain shallow as well. Remaining this shallow clears the way for the Z-receiver to reach the corner with no defensive traffic.
This allows the Z-receiver to make a move and beat the Z-defender to the inside and race to the corner of the end zone. Which he does and makes a great catch to win the game. It was perfectly executed and it gave the Havoc and 60-59 victory!
It was a great play call, with even better execution – and that’s the key! X’s and O’s don’t win games, players do, and the ability of the offensive line to give the quarterback time to throw, the ability of the receivers to get open, and the ability for the quarterback to make the proper reads were all crucial components to making the play work. So, congratulations to Anson Yarborough and the rest of the Carolina Havoc on their week 1 victory, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more highlights of them this season!