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Lightning to feature a bit more finesse

With only one experienced anchor up front, coaches plan to be creative to utilize playmakers.

September 02, 2010|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

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."

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Other than senior TJ Danner, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound two-way lineman who earned first-team all-league and All-Newport-Mesa laurels as a junior, the Lightning's marquee talent all line up outside the neutral zone.

Foremost among those who will tuck the leather away will be senior Taylor Ross, who after starring at a handful of positions last season on his way to All-Newport-Mesa distinction, has prompted Tolver to term him "definitely our stud right now."

Ross, who played tailback, quarterback, receiver, linebacker, safety and corner, in addition to being named Kicker of the Year in the Academy League, is slated to start at tailback. He is also listed as the backup to returning senior quarterback Randall Mycorn.

Mycorn, who missed several games last season with a separated shoulder, is bigger, stronger and more experienced after throwing for 544 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to second-team all-league recognition.

Mycorn, as well as returning junior receivers Taylor Petty and Conner Ascher, are among those who benefited from Sage's involvement in a summer passing league, believed to be a first in the history of the program that is now entering its ninth season.

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