When it comes to offensive creativity, the Sage Hill School football team will trade in the ink blots it used to forge a 7-4 record last season for a more stylized look that figures to have significantly bolder strokes in 2010.
With the benefit of a veteran, physical offensive line and a pounding fullback in Dusty Orrantia, then-first-year Lightning coach J.R. Tolver and his staff were more apt to force the ball down the defense's throat than try to decorate the schematic plate with much garnish.
This season, however, a smaller, less physically imposing band of blockers, combined with a wide range of skill-position flavor, will present Tolver and first-year offensive coordinator Tom Kirchmeyer with a different challenge.
"We have four or five really solid playmakers and we have to find a way to get the ball in those guys' hands, whether it's the run or the pass," said Tolver, whose first season ended with a second-place finish in the four-team Academy League and a first-round loss to Grace Brethren in the CIF Southern Section East Valley Division playoffs. "I think our main goal is to allow our best players to touch the ball in a variety of ways. We're going to have to be creative."