Scott Richards freely admits he doesn’t know who will take Beaufort Academy’s first snap from scrimmage this season. He may play three quarterbacks before Friday night is over.
Nor, by the way, has the Eagles’ coach settled on a running back. Perhaps one of the other quarterbacks.
That’s a little bit by design. And if playing mad scientist with combinations propels the Eagles into the SCISA 8-man playoffs, Richards could look like a visionary.
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“We’ve got a lot of combinations we can throw at teams,” Richards said. “Whether us as coaches can take advantage of that, we’ll have to see.”
The Eagles have fallen one game shy of a postseason berth in each of Richards’ two seasons at the school, including last year’s 4-5 mark. Beaufort Academy has made the playoffs just once since the program launched in 2008, a first-round exit three years ago.
“That’s certainly our goal this year,” Richards said. “And I feel like we might have the horses to do it.”
With five seniors and five juniors on the 15-man roster, Richards has a core that is well-steeped in his offensive concepts. Though 8-man football is known for high-scoring affairs, there’s usually far less passing than might be considered.
“If you can execute running the football,” Richards said, “it becomes very effective as long as guys buy into that kind of system.”
What makes BA unusual is that Richards has a quartet of backs and receivers that’s virtually interchangeable, even accounting for their own strengths and weaknesses.
Jaxon Spratling is the power back, a 230-pound bruiser that can run over foes. Chris Boggs is the jet. Kevin Williams is somewhere in between, and Jalen Moon is the smallish scatback. All except Boggs are in the quarterback mix, too.
That leaves Richards brainstorming combinations to keep opposing defenses on their heels. It might involve a rotation every series — or perhaps changing things up every play based on down, distance and creative juices.
“I’d like to think it changes the pace of the game,” he said. “From a linebacker standpoint, they might be getting prepared to take on Jaxson Spratling, who’s a load to bring down. Then try to tackle Chris Boggs, who’s the fastest guy in SCISA in my opinion.
“I know it would make my life difficult if somebody did that to me.”
The quartet also factors into the Eagles’ 3-4 defense, with Moon and Williams on the edge while James Carden and Will Warren anchor the linebacker group.
Beaufort Academy Eagles
REGION: SCISA 8-man, Region 1
COACH: Scott Richards (third year, 8-11)
2015 RECORD: 4-5 (3-4 region)
KEY RETURNERS: RB/QB Jaxon Spratling, RB/DE Kevin Williams, RB/FS Chris Boggs, OL/LB Will Warren
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Eagles’ collection of interchangeable parts keeps opponents off-balance well enough to pick up the extra win or two that would lift them into the postseason. The region’s last playoff berth could be at stake in the finale at Charleston Collegiate.
- Aug. 19: vs. St. John’s Christian, 7:30 p.m.
- Aug. 26: at Clarendon Hall, 7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 2: at Patrick Henry Academy, 7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 9: vs. Holly Hill Academy, 7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 16: vs. Northside Christian, 7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 23: at Cathedral Academy, 7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 30: vs. Faith Christian, 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 7: at Andrew Jackson Academy , 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 14: vs. Coastal Christian, 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 21: at Charleston Collegiate, 7:30 p.m.
- Oct. 28: Open