I got to thinking over the weekend about the importance of a passing game — or lack thereof — in high-school football.
It came to mind mainly because I’ll be covering that key Federal Way-Kentwood game Thursday night at French Field. And while the Conquerors definitely rate an A+ in the rushing department, primarily because of a 1,000-yard rusher Demitrius Bronson, and his blue-collar line, they don’t very often get passing grades in the passing department.
Four games into the season, Kentwood ranked No. 2 in the South Puget Sound League 4A in rushing at 270.3 yards per game, just behind Graham-Kapowsin (281.3). But they were dead last among the 16 teams in passing (29.3 yards/game).
Federal Way, on the other hand, ranked No. 14 in rushing (114.3) and No. 3 in passing (228.8).
More and more these days, we see teams that rely more on the pass than the run. No. 1 Lakes of Lakewood, for instance, is averaging 257 yards through the air compared to 198 on the ground.
Then, of course, there are teams like Bellevue, with a run-oriented wing-T offense that generally has little need for a passing game. Not surprisingly, Bellevue was No. 1 in KingCo 3A rushing after four games at 302 yards per game, and ranked next to last in passing (23.8 yards/game). Newport is in the same ballpark, averaging 242 yards rushing to a meager 19.8 passing.
Eastlake goes in the other direction. With QB Ryan Robertson at the controls, the Wolves ranked No. 1 in KingCo 4A in passing after four games at 261.5 yards per game. They were 10th out of 11 in rushing, though, at 112.5.
Skyline, on the other hand, has had a nice run/pass mix, averaging 167 yards rushing and 181 passing. Ditto for Bothell (169.8 rushing/174.3 passing). Evergreen of White Center has a good ratio, too, with 276 yards rushing an outing along with 239 passing.
So, what’s your take? Can teams win state championships banking primarily on just the run, or just the pass?
They old adage is only three things can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad (incompletion or interception). But more and more coaches are willing to take the risk. And it seems to me you’ve got to be able to throw a little to have a lot of success.