Strategies and Techniques

The Art of Making Calls in High School Football; Strategies and Techniques


High school football goes beyond being a game; it represents a blend of strategy, teamwork and precision. Coaches, players and fans all acknowledge that one of the aspects in this sport is the skill of making effective calls. Creating the plays at the time can be the defining factor between victory and defeat on the field. In this article we explore the world of play calling in high school football delving into the strategies, techniques and factors involved.


The Role of the Offensive Coordinator

At the core of play calling lies the coordinator. This coach holds responsibility for creating and executing their teams game plan. They act as chess masters on the football field consistently strategizing and adapting to outmaneuver their opponent's defense.


Understanding Team Strengths and Weaknesses


 Before the season commences it is essential for offensive coordinators to thoroughly assess their teams strengths and weaknesses. This evaluation encompasses analyzing players skill levels considering aspects such, as speed, agility and football intelligence. It also considers the overall identity of the team such, as whether they rely on passing, prefer a running game or have a balanced approach.


Analyzing the Opponent


Apart from understanding their team, the offensive coordinator must also thoroughly examine their opponents. This involves studying the strategies, formations, tendencies and key players of the opposing team. Coaches often invest hours in watching game footage to gain insights into their rivals tactics.


Developing a Playbook


Having gained an understanding of both their team and the opponent, the offensive coordinator creates a playbook. This playbook is a compilation of plays that aim to exploit weaknesses in the opposing defense while utilizing the team's strengths effectively.


Types of Plays

High school football playbooks typically consist of play types;


Running Plays; These plays involve handing off the ball to a runner who tries to advance it downfield. Common running plays include sweeps, dives, traps and counters.


Passing Plays; Passing plays entail the quarterback throwing the ball to a downfield. They can range from screens to passes and utilize routes, like slants, posts and fades.


Trick Plays; Trick plays are maneuvers designed to surprise and outsmart the defense.

They consist of reverses, flea flickers and double passes.


Play Action; These plays incorporate elements, from both running and passing plays. The quarterback pretends to hand off the ball before attempting a pass.


Formations & Alignments


The offensive coordinator is responsible for designing formations and alignments for each play. These formations determine how players position themselves on the field and can impact the defense's reaction. Common formations include the I formation spread offense and shotgun formation.


Play Sequencing


The order in which plays are executed during a drive is crucial. Coaches often aim to establish a rhythm by mixing up running and passing plays to keep the defense guessing. An executed sequence can efficiently move the team down the field towards scoring a touchdown.


In-Game Decision Making


While the playbook serves as a foundation making decisions during the game is where play calling truly comes alive for coordinators. Here are some key aspects of in game decision making;


Reading the Defense


Before every snap both the offensive coordinator and quarterback need to analyze the defense. This involves evaluating their formation, alignment and potential blitzes. Identifying their intentions helps determine which play would be most effective.


Adapting to Situations


Play calling is heavily influenced by factors such, as game situations, score differentials, time remaining on the clock etc. Offensive coordinators must make adjustments based on these circumstances.


Various factors, such, as the score time remaining on the clock field position and the down and distance all play a role in play calling. For instance when facing a long situation the offensive coordinator may choose to call a passing play that aims to gain enough yards for a first down.


Exploiting Mismatches


One of the objectives of play calling is to take advantage of mismatches. This involves identifying situations where one of your players has a hand over their defender. For example if your team has a receiver who is matched up against a slower cornerback it might be wise to call for a deep pass play.


Mixing Up Plays


Maintaining unpredictability is crucial for success. Coaches often rely on surprise elements to keep the defense off balance. By mixing up plays, formations and snap counts they can create confusion among opposing defenders.


Managing the Clock


Managing the clock is an important aspect of effective play calling— during late game situations. Offensive coordinators must make decisions regarding whether to run down the clock or go for a score. Precise decision making comes into play when dealing with timeouts and executing two minute drills.


Communicating with the Quarterback


The quarterback serves as an on field extension of the coordinator. Establishing communication between these two figures is vital, for executing plays.


The Process of Calling Plays


To ensure secrecy, from the opposing defense the offensive coordinator effectively and efficiently communicates play calls to the quarterback using a designated system.


Making Changes on the Fly

In some situations the quarterback may have to alter the play at the line of scrimmage based on how the defense's positioned. These audible calls necessitate an understanding of both the teams playbook and their opponents tendencies.


Adapting Throughout the Game


Successful play calling involves being adaptable. As the game unfolds offensive coordinators must be ready to make adjustments depending on what strategies are effective and which ones aren't.


Observing Defensive Reactions


Coaches closely analyze how opposing defenses respond to their plays. If a particular player consistently gains yards it might be advantageous to stick with it. Conversely if the defense effectively counters their strategies, adjustments need to be made.


Responding to Adjustments


The opposing defense will also make changes in response. In order to counter these adjustments offensive coordinators must call plays that exploit opportunities or take advantage of mismatches.


Taking Advantage of Fatigue


As games progress, fatigue can impact players. Offensive coordinators might seek ways to exploit defenders by incorporating plays that test their endurance, such, as implementing a no offense.




In high school football the art of play calling involves a balance of strategy, execution and adaptability. It requires understanding your team, the opponent and the current game situation. While the playbook provides a foundation the true mastery comes to life during the game as coaches analyze the defense make adjustments based on changing circumstances and capitalize on opportunities. 


Play calling in high school football is not about achieving victories; it's, about molding athletes into skilled disciplined and strategic players who carry the lessons they learn on the field throughout their lives.