After an 0-3 start this season, South Side coach Eddie Fields decided it was time to make a change with his offense.
A big change.
Out of the quarterback position was junior Donovan Clark and his style, in was sophomore Trae Masten and the double-wing T offense.
“Donovan was doing all right; we just needed to move the ball more efficiently,” Fields said. “So we needed to pass less and get the ball to Donovan and (senior Aaron Thomas) more.”
It has worked for South Side, which has rushed for 1,700 yards since the change with Clark and Thomas while going 4-3 over the last seven weeks.
Masten has been solid as well.
“Trae is a smart kid and is a role model,” Fields said. “That is what we want back there.”
The improving South Side program will get a chance to upset its rival Friday as it hosts North Side (8-2) in a Class 5A Sectional 3 semifinal.
In Fields' first season at the helm a year ago, the Archers finished just 3-7, with one of the victories coming by forfeit.
“My first year we struggled, that was obvious,” Fields said. “And myself and the coaches made just as many mistakes as the players did. But we have won twice as many games this year as last year, if you do not count the forfeit. We are not bragging, but we are showing progress.”
One part of progress has been the offense, which has averaged 32 points per game since the change in the backfield. Another has been that the team knows what to expect from the coaching staff and what is expected of them in return.
That can go a long way.
“We are together as Archers now,” Fields said. “Last year it was not like that.”
Friday's big game has South Side the clear underdog, but Fields has confidence in his team. The Archers will score points against North Side, but will they score enough?
The Redskins knocked off South Side in Week 7, 42-13.
“I told our team that in the last seven games, North Side is 5-2 and we are 4-3,” Fields said. “That is pretty close. So I really feel like we have a shot (to win).
“The kids were asking if we would get the 'Totem Pole' back if we won. We won't, but this is bigger than that. This is for a chance to play another week of football.”
Whenever South Side's season ends with a loss, there is plenty of promise for next season. In addition to Clark and Masten returning, the Archers will return a pair of linebackers, three defensive linemen and three players in the defensive backfield.
“We are young across the board,” Fields said. “We are happy with what our seniors have given us and we will miss them, but we are only going to keep getting better.”
It appears as if that process is well under way.