Triple Option: An American football scheme used to offer several ways to move the football forward on the field of play. The triple option is based on the option run, but uses three players who might run with the ball instead of the two used in a standard option run.
Stopping the Triple Option: (See: Hoffman Estates Hawks Defense)
Facing a triple option offense for the first time this season, the Hoffman Estates Hawks defense kicked it into another gear on Saturday in a 6A quarterfinals tilt with Belvidere North on the road, holding the Blue Thunder to 162 yards of total offense in a 35-10 rout.
With the win, the Blue and Orange (10-2) advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history and match the 1988 squad for most victories in a season.
"Our scout team gave us a great look this week in practice," said Hawks head coach Tim Heyse. "Our freshman head coach was an all-state option QB, so he was our QB this week and gave us a great look and got things organized. He was awesome for us."
The Hawks defense set the tone from the opening possession of the game against Belvidere North, forcing a quick 3-and-out. After a short punt, the Hawks set up shop at the Blue Thunder 35.
Hoffman Estates capitalized on the choice field position and at 7:13 of the first, Jaylan Alexander scurried into the end zone from 3 yards out to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
The seven point advantage may have looked like an 100-point deficit for the home team the way the Hawks defense flew to the ball all evening long.
Later in the first, with Belvidere North marching the ball towards midfield, the stout Hawks D wreaked havoc once again and forced a turnover to get the ball back to the potent Hawks offense at midfield.
With one second remaining in the quarter, Jaylin Johnson hit pay dirt from 2 yards out to give the Hawks a 14-0 edge.
On the other side of the field, the Blue Thunder struggled to get their medicine ball, 6-foot, 235-pound fullback Cruz Garza (14 carries, 49 yards), going. The Hoffman D held him in check him all game long just a week after he had run roughshod over Grayslake North to the tune of 216 yards on 34 carries.
"In practice, we emphasized being disciplined playing against the triple option," Alexander said. "You have to be fundamentally sound on D, and we did that today."
Austin Coalson scored from 9 yards out with 8:23 left in the half to put the Hawks ahead 21-0 and the team went into the break up 21-3.
With Hoffman set to receive the opening second half kickoff, Belvidere North gambled and attempted for an onside kick. But the ball wound up in sophomore special teams extraordinaire Max Lock's hands, and he jetted to the end zone to put the game out of reach at 28-3 just four seconds into the third.
"Coach (Jeff Mandel) told me that play was coming and he put me in the right spot to make the play, and I made the play," said Lock.
The desperation attempt by the Blue Thunder is a scenario that Coach Heyse and his staff had envisioned in preparing for Belvidere North all week.
"We worked on that (onsides recovery) a bunch this week," said Heyse. "We figured if we got a lead that they were going to have to try something because their offense doesn't score points quickly."
But the Hawks do.
Up 28-10 in the fourth, Clevontae Jackson picked off a Blue Thunder pass with 11:52 in the period and just 3 minutes later, Coalson found Jayvon Blissett for a 5-yard TD pass that put the Hawks up 35-10 and rounded out the scoring. It was the senior signal caller's 10th TD pass of the postseason — a postseason that continues to roll on.
"We got the (defending) state champs coming in and we're excited…we're not done yet," said Heyse.
Hoffman Estates will get its second dose of the triple option offense when they host undefeated Prairie Ridge (12-0) next weekend with a trip to the 6A championship game on the line. The Wolves defeated Willowbrook 42-7 and have won 26 straight games.