In youth football sometimes we do things for the long term benefit of the team that may have minimal short term benefits.
One of these things may be the trick plays we put in near the end of the season. We will often put in a trick play or two in the last third of the season just to keep the kids interest levels high and to use as carrots for meeting certain football practice goals. We all know the kids get into a groove as the season progresses, which is good, but it can also get monotonous and crush a bit of the enthusiasm we like our teams to have. Adding a trick play in at this point in the season, whether it works or not, or even if you just run it once, is probably the wise thing to do.
You may have seen a “trick” play on the entry highlights of your DVDs that is not in the playbook part of the book. At the clinics I do, I always play a highlight reel before we start and during breaks. That play always seems to get even veteran coaches giggling and pointing.
Here is how we run that goofy football play that the kids love and beg for, the flap-jack pass. It is a play we borrowed from Jeff Bayeral from the Menominee High School Frosh team:
Lining up in our traditional double tight set we snap to the fullback for what appears to be another fullback wedge play, our blocking back at the snap turns his back to the line of scrimmage and as the fullback passes the blocking back on his way to the line, the fullback hands the ball off to the blocking back. The fullback continues on a fake and plunges into the line. The blocking back once he gets control of the ball stays with his back to the line of scrimmage and just flings the football with 2 bands blindly over his back, end over end and with a fairly high arc. The receiver is a waiting left end that has run about an 8 yard slant. Since the “pass” is blind it needs to have a bit of an arc on it so the left end can run under it, as the pass is rarely right on target. The offensive line just forms a wedge but does not take the wedge downfield. We run this in goal line situations where the other team is expecting a wedge type play and the safety is playing up.
In 2006 we ran this play 4 times and completed 3, they were all extra point plays in games we had well in hand. The kids and parents were all smiles. Most trick plays, while seen infrequently, most of us have seen most of them, most of these plays have lost their uniqueness. The flap jack pass is one I really doubt ANYONE in your league will have seen before and unless they are playing your team, will not see it again. Here is another youth football teams version of the play:
While I’m not a huge fan of trick plays in youth football, this one served it’s purpose for our team. We do have 2 trick kickoff returns we will run to get a quick turnaround in games, the entire momentum of games often changes with big special teams plays right after scores. The trick kickoff returns are diagrammed and explained on page 129 of the book. While we have trailed in just 6 games in the last 6 years and have not got to use these returns often, of the 12 or so times we have run these returns in the last 6 years, we scored on 5 of them.