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MO e-Clinic: Sikeston Fire Series

February 16, 2011
Missouri Football Coaches Association

Sikeston "Fire Series" by Mark Jackson

At Sikeston High School we believe in using misdirection to attack defenses in the run game. We also want to run "series" football where we have several plays that look the same way from the start. By doing this, we believe we can slow defenses down and take away their aggressiveness by having them standing and trying to find the football. Or even better yet, use misdirection to take advantage of their aggressiveness and have them run themselves out of plays.

How Our Fire Series Came About

We are a spread option offense based out of a 2 x 2 pistol formation. Our base run plays are Veer, Zone, Fly, Trap, and Counter. Like most spread teams we philosophically see our screen game and quick passing game as an extension of the run game. Our best pass play is Boot which of course is set up off our run game. We compliment this with various "specials" which some coaches would call exotics. So last off season we went in search of a special series we could use as our "Fire" Series.

The philosophy behind "Fire" is simple. We would run "Fire" as fast as possible, immediately following a big play. We wanted something that was different than our normal sets and plays. I came across a video of a series of plays that Gus Mahzaln had used in the Auburn bowl game versus Northwestern. I have included the video as well as clips of us running the series in the attached video. Who knew at the time, Auburn would be national champs this year. I broke down the video; we drew up the series complete with blocking schemes and installed it as a change of pace. We started using it and every time we ran it early, it seemed to work. So we were smart enough to make it a bigger part of what we did. Next Season we plan to tweak and add to make it a part of "what we do."

The Run Plays

No matter what play we run, the series begins with flanker motion over the top of the formation. We want to time up every play in the series so that we get a spin action in the backfield from the QB. The timing should create the threat of three plays forcing the defense to play us honest and Sikeston "Fire" Series Offensive Coordinator Sikeston Bulldog Football Mark Jackson

slow read. We will have a back coming in front of the QB to for a quick hitting sweep to our right flank. If we time the motion properly, we will have the threat of the reverse coming over the top threatening our left flank. Then there is always the option of faking both runs and using play action in which we can quickly put 5 receivers out into the route. This should force the defenses to honor both flanks, force inside linebackers to slow read, and keep the secondary out of the box.

We set up the rest of the series by establishing the sweep first. We actually opened the game with the sweep the first four weeks of the year with good success including one that went for a touchdown. Week five we threw the play action on the first play for a touchdown. We did not run the reverse much, but it was very effective when we did.

Sweep Blocking Scheme

  • PSWR: Stalk MDT
  • Inside Slot (Want more of an H Back type here): Block down on DE
  • PST: Pull and lead play
  • PSG through BST: Will zone block, protect your play side gap and do not allow penetration
  • Ball Carrier: Take hand off try to get the edge, if something crosses your face, cut it up
  • QB: Give sweep, spin and fake Reverse, and show pass
  • Motion Man: Run reverse without ball.

Reverse Blocking Scheme

  • PSWR: Stalk MDT
  • Inside Slot (Want more of an H Back type here): Block down on DE, it should look like sweep.
  • O-Line: Base block and do not allow penetration. We will pull the PSG if uncovered. If the PSG is covered then we will pull our Center.
  • Sweeper: Run Sweep without the ball.
  • QB: Fake sweep, spin and give Reverse, and show pass
  • Motion Man: Try to get to the edge, if something crosses your face, cut it.

The Play Action Pass

Our play action off this series proved to be very good. The action in the backfield looks identical to the sweep and the reverse which helps to hold backers and safeties long enough to make the play effective. The reads are easy for the QB. He looks for the Smash route then comes off to the divide and down to the over. If he feels pressure, he throws to either back out of the backfield. The wheel by the sweeper down the sideline is the big play throw on the pass and should be stealing against high school defenses. We hit some huge plays throwing that route.


  • Carry out all fakes. This is a point of emphasis in our offense in general, but is a must in this series.
  • The QB must time it up. The QB has to snap the ball in time to make sure the motion guy is a legitimate threat whether he is getting the ball or not.
  • No penetration up front. The lineman must give us time to make the spinning action in the backfield.
  • Backs must be willing to cut up field if the defense takes away the sideline.
  • On the play action, the QB must be willing to take what the defenses is giving us and not force the ball into traffic.

I have included with this article the Auburn video and clips of us using the series in the game. Samples of all the above plays are included in the clip, as well as the QB Trap off the sweep fake which turned out to be a very good play for us. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at coachmaj@gmail.com.

Are you a Christian football coach looking for a site to grow spiritually and professionally at the same time? Try my blog. It is a site intended to help and serve football coaches to do just that. Visit http://coachmaj.blogspot.com/ and let me know if it is a blessing to you.

Click here for a copy 
Mark Jackson's Sikeston Fire Series article in .pdf format.

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