Yesterday ITHMA profiled the King Philip High School football team that features a dynamic rushing attack on offense led by their star running back Shane Frommer who is committed to play at Yale University next year. With many of the teams in the NFL and college football moving to spread offenses that feature a “pass first” philosophy it is interesting to see how high school offenses have evolved and how they incorporate running backs into their offensive game plans. Many high school running backs these days have to be multi-functional as they are asked to run the ball, catch the ball as a receiver out of the offensive backfield and be able to block in passing formations. Some high schools will even line up an athletic running back at the quarterback position and run a wildcat offense as we have seen with Zach Harris at Braintree High School and Darren Watson at North Andover High School. In a more traditional sense you have a player like BC High running back and Harvard commit Danny Abraham who runs behind a big and physical offensive line that is designed to wear down an opposing defense and to control the time of possession on offense. In the high scoring Independent School League (ISL) you still find a number of productive running backs with very different styles of play including Milton Academy’s Kalel Mullings, Noble and Greenough’s Jason Medeiros and Governor’s Quin Stott. Mullings and Medeiros are also linebackers on defense so they bring a more physical game while Stott relies primarily on his speed and quickness to make big plays on offense. Back in the MIAA you have a number of versatile running backs like Everett’s trio of Jacob Miller, Kevin Brown and Yirah Irung, Mashpee’s Devaun Ford, Brockton’s Eddie Kelsey, Xaverian Brothers’ Ike Irabor, St. John’s Prep’s Aise Pream, Lexington’s Ben Quint, Central Catholic’s Max Faro, Danvers’ Tahg Coakley, Bridgewater-Raynham’s Devante Greaves, Tewksbury’s Brandon Winn, St. John’s Shrewsbury’s Peter Oliver and Marshfield’s three-headed monster of Jack McNeil, Brendan Ward and Casey Phinney. All of these running backs play a very important role on offense and show that the position has definitely evolved over time but still plays a critical role in managing a football game and keeping opposing defenses off balance to help set up the passing game. High school teams have joined the trend towards more passing on offense but the running back position can still be effectively utilized in a number of ways to control the ball on offense, to force opposing defenses to respect the run game and to make their overall offensive game plan more dynamic and difficult to stop. A team like Everett High School is really the perfect example of how dangerous a high school offense can be when they have the dual threat of both a running and passing game on offense. Everett has a number of running backs who can move the ball on the ground while also having a deadly passing attack with multiple receivers who are all scoring threats. This balance on offense is a nightmare for opposing defenses and is the single biggest reason ITHMA ranked Everett as the best team in the state. Passing the football on offense will continue to be the trend even at the high school level of play but the vast majority of highly ranked teams in our ITHMA poll still feature running backs as a key part of their offensive game plans and this is something not likely to change as it is this dual threat offense that helps to define the best teams in the State of Massachusetts this coming football season. Look for a future post that will detail some of the state’s best fullbacks for this coming football season.