They call it the “Pirate.” When the Waipahu Marauders lined up for a point-after-touchdown conversion against Kaimuki during the second half on Saturday, the homecoming crowd saw something slightly different. It was a throwback, something many teams over the years had used, most notably Roosevelt. Back more than a decade ago, Roosevelt assistant coach Jeff Azuma trained their offensive personnel into a package of (literally) off-center formations that he named after aviary species. Birds.
One was Flamingo. What Waipahu used against Kaimuki, with a 27-20 lead and 6:45 left, was something that is almost impossible to stop without a plan. The Marauders lined up with a center, a QB in the shotgun, a guard next to the center, and out wide to either side, four players. They had the required seven players at the line of scrimmage, just spread out across roughly 50 yards of synthetic turf. Legal.
Kaimuki played relatively tight on the wide quadrants, which turn it into a 3-on-3 battle in the middle of the field.
1. Why go for 2 when conventional wisdom imparts that increasing the lead to 8 points (28-20) would have been sufficient? The element of surprise and the possibility of opening the lead to 9 — a two-possession margin — made this the right moment to be opportunistic for Coach Bryson Carvalho and his staff.
2. Instead of QB Braden Amorozo, defensive back Ezekial Kai Kapanui Reyes lined up at QB.
Kaimuki defended it fairly well at the snap. Kapanui Reyes ran to his left, two defenders pursued, then overpursued, and Kapanui Reyes cut back to the right and sliced through and over the goal line for 2 points.
“It’s fun stuff and a lot of different options beside the run,” Carvalho texted. “And if the defense is balanced, we’ll kick and it’s usually not enough time for a defense to set up for a block.”
Some might consider this a way to game the system. Should a team be able to line up in multiple formations before the play clock expires? Should any special teams unit have these kinds of options, going for 1 or 2 points? The answers are yes, and yes, and irrelevant as long as the plays are legal. Waipahu isn’t dependent on trick/gadget plays, but the difference in having a plan to score 2 points after any touchdown is a huge edge whether the Marauders are ahead or behind.
Timing is everything. Once a play that relies on the element of surprise or the advantage of stacked personnel has been run, that sometimes kills it for the rest of the game. Or season. But Carvalho says there’s more in the package. Stay tuned.