Don’t blink. The 2016 Kodiak High School football team is lightning fast.
And the coaching staff plans to showcase the speed by running a no-huddle offense when the season kicks off Friday night against Houston at Joe Floyd Track and Field.
“We are going to go as fast as humanly possible,” second-year head coach Bill McGuire said.
McGuire, a former player at Montana State University Northern, installed a spread offense in his debut season and went 3-5, finishing fourth in the five-team Northern Lights Conference with a 1-3 mark.
The offense showed sparks last season — look at the 52-48 loss at North Pole — but also sputtered at times — shutout in the season finale against Barrow.
The no-huddle should add fuel to the offense that averaged 21.6 points per game last season, but only 18 in conference outings.
The coach researched the up-tempo attack during the offseason and said West Anchorage and North Pole both used no-huddles last season. He expects his team to move at a more dizzying pace, similar to the University of Oregon.
“It should be confusing for defenses,” he said.
Leading the attack is senior quarterback Andreas Carros, a first-team NLC and second-team all-state medium school performer from a year ago. He passed for 1,222 yards — career-high 340 against North Pole — and combined for 16 passing and rushing touchdowns.
Expect to see even bigger numbers this year, as Kodiak again takes to the air.
“We are not big and strong enough to line it up and pound it,” the coach said. “We are going to play the numbers game and try to use that speed.”
Carros’ targets at wide receiver include Jerome Leadera, Joel Francisco and Scott Larionoff, who returns from a year away from football.
The elusive Jay Miranda returns at running back for his senior season. Despite missing time last year due to a concussion, he rushed for 629 yards and nine touchdowns and added four more scores through the air.
“We want to get Miranda in space; he is hard to tackle,” McGuire said.
Returners Liam Kervin, Josh Smith and Trevor Mosley anchor the line. RJ Fangonilo and Braxton Bolen join the trenches this season.
Kodiak is a young team with upperclassmen sprinkled throughout the roster of 42 players.
“It is a dog fight for positions,” McGuire said. “They are battling and it is making good football players out of them.”
Kodiak has not made the medium-school playoffs since 2013 and has not won a postseason game since 2009, a 24-14 victory over Eielson.
The top two teams in a loaded NLC qualify for the four-team playoffs. Soldotna, winners of the last four medium-school state titles, and Kenai, last year’s state runner-up, represented the conference in the playoffs. Palmer and Eagle River are back for a second year.
Kodiak topped Eagle River 20-0 for its only conference victory last season. The Bears were outscored 136-52 in the other three games.
McGuire hopes the revamped offense can push the Bears back into the playoffs.
“There has been talks of a state championship,” he said. “I’m not one to sniff at that because if we get in the playoffs anything can happen. I truly believe we can get in the playoffs.”
Derek Clarkston is a staff writer at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact him at (907) 486-3227, ext. 625.