Thunder Mountain High School football is going to be beyond entertaining this season, much in part to the new revamped offensive scheme that will be causing heartache for opponents in Southeast and along the Northern Lights Conference route.
“It is called the Triple Pistol,” Falcons’ offensive coordinator Branden Mahle said. “You have to see it to understand it.”
The Falcons will have limited numbers in uniform again.
However, the numbers will be more talented.
“There is a lot of excitement with the kids,” Mahle said. “A lot of kids have worked in the off season a lot longer than before.”
The Falcons look to be one of the most conditioned teams around the league. Their training programs began in December and continued through other sports seasons as athletes pursued their workouts individually, three to five days a week.
Head coach Bill Byouer has multi-sport athlete Ben Jahn back along with Villi Tupou, John Jolly and Joe Ia as key players in the backfield. Jahn and Tupou are all conference players and Jolly will be this season.
The offensive line will include battle tested and proven Austin Thomas, Ofeina Soakai and Drew Gardner.
The Falcons are improved in offense with Mahle’s system and special teams with Jeep Rice assuming that first time role.
The Falcons will run the Triple Pistol with four running backs in the backfield.
It has already been tested at the team camp in Oregon and proved to be competent.
The offense is basically balanced out of the backfield where, at the snap of the ball, the Falcons can overload right or left before the defense can adjust. Thus Thunder Mountain will have plus one or plus two players on the ball.
“It is a hybrid,” Mahle said.
The triple option and the spread option are huge in high school and college football and the Falcons will mix this with the Pistol option back.
A mixture that improves the Falcons running game up the middle, a part of the game they struggled with last season according to Mahle.
Byouer and the Falcons hosted their first ever-home playoff game last season, a loss, and look to match that with a win this time around.
The conference will be senior heavy this season so the Falcons extra weight room work should be instrumental in improving their 3-5 record from last year.
Defensively the Falcons are strong with returners in the linebacking core including Villi and Josh Tupou, Ben Jahn, and Shayne Brown and Byouer’s teams are always athletic.
“Again, with our low numbers many of our guys will play both ways,” Mahle said. “That is where are off season conditioning program will pay dividends.”
The Falcons struggled in the third and fourth quarters of games last season but that will not happen this year.
A newcomer to watch is freshman linebacker Naki Latu. and Maryland transfer Kyle Dillie. Coaches say Latu’s impact may not be visible until the third week when he gets a couple games under his belt.
“This is a kid who is going to surprise people,” Mahle said. “Effort is not a question. He is really raw right now. People are going to be surprised by all the Falcons. This is not the same team as last year. The results are going to be totally different. It is a different level of excitement.”
Adding to that excitement is the fact that this is the first year of seniors who started with the program’s inception.
“The intensity level is high. The kids are saying this is it for us, we don’t have another year.”