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Football 101: Area coaches, players help us break down the game

I'll admit it. When I watch football, I usually watch the ball.

At high school games, I have to. With NFL games, I hardly know how not to.

Try as I might to understand what's going on or why in the trenches, it's always somehow eluded me.

I never played the game. I just know people who did.

That's why this year, for people like me, we're trying to give readers more insight into all that goes into planning and playing each position in high school football.

Watch the tape: Coaches and players break down video

Our goal this season, like it is every season, is to take you inside the huddle with all of our local high school football teams. This year, we're just doing it with a lot more detail.

After this fall, hopefully we can all become a little better at taking our eyes off the ball.

-Jon Styf, Sports Editor, Northwest Herald


Through the eyes of the QB

Marian Central quarterback Billy Bahl and offensive coordinator Dirk Stanger break down the keys of the Hurricanes' passing game.

Executing a quarterback draw

Johnsburg football head coach Mike Maloney uses video from last season to show how the Skyhawks' offense executes the quarterback draw.

Defending the outside run

Huntley football head coach John Hart and defensive coordinator Matt Zimolzak demonstrate on the white board and through Huntley game film how the Red Raiders defend the outside run.

Inside the Option

Prairie Grove shows us how to run the midline option, the inside veer and outside veer.


What is the route tree?

Receivers from Marian Central and Cary-Grove help break down the aspects of the receiver route tree.

Basics of the Cover 2

Cover 2 is a common coverage seen on football of all levels. Focusing on the defensive backs, learn the basics of this two-deep coverage.

Glossary of terms

What is a B-Gap? How about a veer? We break it down for you in simple terms.


Inside the Option: Inside Veer

What do offenses key on for the inside veer?

Inside the Option: Outside Veer

What do offenses key on for the outside veer?

Inside the Option: Midline Option

What do offenses key on for the midline option?


Defensive backs

Defensive backs do their job to avoid being noticed

By Mike DeFabo

As offenses continue to evolve, defensive backs are becoming more important than ever.


Quarterbacks learn to do a little bit of everything

By Joey Kaufman

The life of a quarterback: keeping your head on a swivel, and learning to do a little bit of everything.

Wide receiver

Spread offenses making their way to McHenry County

By Jacob Sheyko

Whether its a spread offense or an option attack, the role a receiver or tight end plays is important.

Offensive line

Offensive linemen pave the way

By Ryan Altman

More than height and weight: The skill set of an offensive lineman.

Defensive line

Burst off the snap very important for all D-linemen

By Matthew Paras

Cary-Grove defensive lineman Michael Gomez and former Huntley defensive end Brandon Dranka on what makes a great defensive linemen.


Linebackers have to lead

By Luke Srodulski

Marengo's Kyle Gara and Prairie Ridge’s Parker Tomlin on the qualities a linebacker must possess.

Running Backs

Running backs know the way

By Kevin Meyer

Crystal Lake Central's Ryan Williams and Jacobs' Josh Walker on the varied responsibilities of the position.


Kickers know their technique

By Alex Kantecki

A look at what makes a kicker successful.

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