When the Ringling Blue Devils hit the field at Cashion Friday night it will be a battle between the old and the new — as far as offensive attacks are concerned.

When the Ringling Blue Devils hit the field at Cashion Friday night it will be a battle between the old and the new — as far as offensive attacks are concerned.

Ringling (8-2), ranked fifth in Class A, runs from a traditional “I” formation that has served the Blue Devils for many years and has led to several state championships. Cashion (10-1), ranked second in Class A, will run from the “spread” formation — an offense being embraced by more and more high school football programs of late.

“We like the ‘I’ formation, and we are very comfortable with the way we run it,” Ringling coach Tracy Gandy said. “We like power football. Some people call it ‘smash-mouth’ football where you line up, control the line of scrimmage and run the football right at your opponent.

“The key to our success has always been our offensive lines and the size of our running backs. Our goal is to keep moving the chains and keep the ball out of the hands of the other team. And that philosophy has worked well for us for a long time.”

The Blue Devils have scored 380 points in their 10 games (38 points per game) and the Wildcats have clipped along at 44 points per game (484 for the season) in 11 games. Gandy and his coaches will need to put forth a game plan that limits the number of snaps Cashion takes, because Cashion has had few problems scoring when they do take possession on offense.

“Nobody has been able to stop them yet,” Gandy said. “They have a great quarterback, and he has several good players he can throw the ball to. They will actually run the ball more than they pass it. However, they have a lot of offensive formations and variances off those formations. It is difficult to know where the ball is going. Their quarterback normally gets the football, and they try to outnumber you in their blocking schemes.”

Gandy said his Blue Devils will need to control the game’s tempo, or it could be a long night.

“They run a no-huddle, and it isn’t unusual for them to run upwards to 90 plays in a game,” Gandy said. “We cannot allow that to happen if we are to win the ball game. We must make them play our game, and that means we will need to control the clock with our ground game. We have to be mentally tough on every play, and at the same time not be so focused on their formations that we forget to play the game.

“If we sit back on defense and not attack, they will run over us. We have to attack their offense, and we must limit their snaps to around 40-50."

Gandy likened the Wildcats to another team the Blue Devils have seen this season.

“Wayne played a similar game against us in week 10,” Gandy said. “Wayne is a very good football team, but Cashion is a great football team. Their formations are complex, and I am amazed at what they have accomplished at the high school level. They use a lot of the same plays, but they have different ways to come at you. We will need to be more aggressive on defense than we were last week (against Apache). We are hoping our offense can control the tempo. We have all seniors along the offensive line, and we are hopeful that maturity comes through for us this week. It should be interesting to see how our power offense does against them and how well we defend against all their wide-open offensive sets.

“We are taking an excellent team of players up there, and if any team can knock them off, this group can.”


Ringling at Cashion

  Class A second round, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cashion High School
  Records: Ringling 8-2, Cashion 10-1
  AP Rankings: Ringling No. 5 in Class A; Cashion No. 2
  Winner plays Morrison-Wayne winner