Sherwood (Ore.) High football coach Greg Lawrence admits that his team needs to improve its passing game, and the only way to get better through the air is for the team to pass the ball more. Still, that may not be in the cards, simply because the Sherwood ground game is absolutely astonishingly impressive. That much was proven in Sherwood's last victory, when the Bowmen ran for a state-record 756 yards.
One game, 756 yards. That's seven games worth of rushing for a number of strong high school offenses. As reported by the Oregonian, for Sherwood, all those yards came on 49 carries, with the Bowmen racking up 84 points in a deceptively competitive 84-42 Sherwood win against Sandy (Ore.) High.
"We racked 'em up and it was a lot of fun," Sherwood coach Tim Lawrence told the Oregonian. "We're always looking at rushing for 450 yards a game, and we think we can do it every time, but we never would have dreamed 700-and-some yards."
Sherwood's mountain of rushing gains far outstretched the previous high mark for an Oregon team on the ground, topping the school's existing mark of 643 yards by more than 100 yards. The 756-yard performance also moved into the top-5 single-game team rushing performances all-time nationwide, slotting in at fourth behind a 774-yard game by Catawissa (Pa.) Southern Columbia High in 2004.
The all-time single-game national record is an unbelievable 893 yards, which were amassed by Centreville (Texas) High in 2003.
For Sherwood, the massive rushing total was set up in part by the team's formation. The Bowmen use a traditional Wing-T offense, with both a halfback and fullback who can churn out big yardage on any touch.
That's precisely what happened against Sandy, with senior halfback Christian Morris gaining 217 yards and scoring three touchdowns while fullback Mickey Schaefer picked up 221 yards and three touchdowns. In total, 13 different Sherwood players carried the ball in the victory.
As for the air game, Sherwood actually did complete nine passes for a total 53 yards and one of the Bowmen touchdowns, a 21-yard pass from quarterback Kevin Larkin to Logan Ballarche.
Still, even that effective passing blip on the game's radar was dwarfed on a per-down yardage rate by Sherwood's running back. The Bowmen averaged just less than 6 yards per pass through the air and picked up more than 15 yards per rush.
Where's the motivation to pass when you can run the ball like that?
"Everybody was getting a hand in it," Lawrence told the Oregonian. "We played both quarterbacks and rotated them every two series, so it wasn't like we were running up the score. It was fun. The kids had a great time and got excited about it.
"When you get to the playoffs you have to have [the passing game] ready. The other night, we didn't have to throw the ball. We tried a few times, but for the most part we could have run whatever we'd wanted against them and been fine."