It's no secret the Vinton Lions possess the area's top offensive player. Running back Tony St. Julien has made a name for himself this year, going from relative unknown, to four star prospect.
"I'm a utility, I play everywhere. Defense, offense, kick return, special teams, everything."
Lions aim to once again lean on the legs of TSJ, after totaling over 3,000 yards the past two seasons. But in 2017, Vinton will move from under center, to the shotgun, running the spread offense.
"We know that everyone knows TSJ , A lot of game plans will revolve around limiting what he does, so we figured this offense allows us to put him in a bunch of different positions where other teams will have to account for him."
But that's not the only reason for the shift of philosophy.
"We have a lot of speed and stuff and we have good guys and talent, we just have to put it into play. We wanted to spread it out because we have a lot of talent on the outside to along with the running backs. Feels like we're getting out of the old and coming into the new."
Lion coach Tarius Davis says the move makes sense because of his young offensive line too.
"It's widely said that we aren't going to be overly huge up front, but we think our scheme is going to be really good for the type of lineman that we have. Nowadays, everyone is in the gun and running these types of offenses and for us being a team that normally is under center and getting under gun, you can definitely tell that kids have a little more pep in their step."
Defensively, expect the Lions to be stronger than in 2016. Playing 2A football, it's expected for your players to play on both sides, Vinton is no exception. That's where leadership from seniors like St. Julien is key.
"You have to be a leader. You have to stand up above everyone else and just lead them on."
"We all take after him and try looking up to him. We all want to be like him sometimes."
Despite the comparisons to the Lions' back-to-back quarterfinal teams three years ago, Vinton knows its has its fair share of doubters. But that's okay with the Lions.
"People expect us to just win one game, so we're going to surprise them."
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