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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blitzkrieg and the Canadian Spread Offense

photo by Alan Hale

Sophomore Boston Hudson makes a leaping circus TD catch of big brother Braden Hudson's pass.

Time for a quick history lesson: On September 1, 1939, Adolph Hitler unleashed his war machine on the world with an invasion of the independent nation of Poland. A startled and suddenly terrified world watched as Hitler’s powerful military juggernaut executed a new strategy of war; Blitzkrieg. Translated, lightening war. When perceived world military powers France and England came to the aid of their ally Poland, Hitler turned his armies east and invaded France. Spearheaded by his Panzer tank divisions, and backed by the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe; the new war making technology that Germany now had perfected was no match for the British and French militaries, both still vested in outdated WW I military equipment and methods.

The Maginot Line, a system of fortified French trenches on the common French and German border, was breached by Hitler’s tank divisions in days. For many years, this line of defense was the pride of the French military, giving its citizens a sense of security against their vanquished WW I foe, the Germans. When Hitler’s mechanized Panzers, followed by German infantry divisions, swatted aside the Maginot Line like a fly, the rout was on. Hitler literally drove the French and British armies into the Atlantic Ocean, climaxing with the desperate evacuation of the survivors at the French port of Dunkirk. For the next four years, Hitler would have total control of the main European continent, and as history has recorded, come so ever dangerously close to conquering the world.

Blitzkrieg is the best description of the 12 minutes it took on Friday night for Canadian to blow away Panhandle High. Using the newest in modern football offense- the spread- to perfection, the Wildcats were unstoppable. When the smoke cleared, a 14-7 Canadian lead had been stretched to 48 to 7.

Each year the senior football players at Canadian develop a slogan. This year's is the acronym: F.A.S.T.; which stands for Faith, Attitude, Strength and Tradition. It also describes the way the Cats like to run their no huddle, spread offense.

In the Week 6 game with the Panhandle Panthers, Canadian showed, when they truly Play F.A.S.T., just how lethal they can be.  With 2:28 seconds left in the first half and his team in the lead 14-7, Coach Chris Koetting called timeout. Canadian faced a 3rd and 12 from the Panhandle 14 yard line. Koetting used the sixty second break to verbally lash into his team. The Cats had driven the ball into the red zone on their last two possessions, but due to costly penalties and a couple of missed blocking assignments, Canadian had come up empty on both trips. Koetting now both spit out his frustration and laid down a challenge to his team. "Gentleman, we have played around enough,” Koetting said. “We are letting them hang around. Right now, from here on in, we play F.A.S.T. We haven't done that yet. We talk about it, now show me you really mean it. I want the tempo jacked up where we like it. Sprint to the line of scrimmage. Get the play called and let’s go. We will wear them down."

Fast forward to 2:28 left in the third quarter, and let the scoreboard tell the tale of the 12 minutes of play after Koetting’s challenge: Canadian 48, Panhandle 7. Once Koetting put his foot to the gas, the Wildcats were a team in perpetual motion, an unstoppable whirlwind that Panhandle had the misfortune to have encountered at the wrong moment in time, thus incurring the resulting carnage of the Wildcat fury.

As Koetting had predicted, the pace wore down the larger Panhandle players. A pass rush that had been problematic for Canadian early in the game, was non-existent by the middle of the third quarter, as the frenzied pace that Koetting drove his team to left the Panhandle defenders gasping for air, hands on their knees.

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