Back to the good old ways: D/VE's Flanagan flourishing in switch in offense
Going back to the old way of offense has been a good fit for Kilen Flanagan. After a slow start this season, the Drayton/Valley-Edinburg senior has erupted on the football field, including a 424-yard rushing game in a recent 56-54 loss to Lakota/...
Going back to the old way of offense has been a good fit for Kilen Flanagan.
After a slow start this season, the Drayton/Valley-Edinburg senior has erupted on the football field, including a 424-yard rushing game in a recent 56-54 loss to Lakota/Adams-Edmore.
That's a far cry from the season opener, in which Flanagan was limited to eight yards on six carries. The Blue Knights had switched to a different offense that was more wide open and pass oriented in the first game before returning to their run-oriented offense in their second game.
Flanagan said he thought the pass-oriented offense "would have worked. But as a running back, I didn't necessarily like it. I didn't think I'd get as many carries as I did last year.'
The Blue Knights definitely have relied on the ground game.
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound Flanagan has surpassed 100 yards in four straight games, totaling 870 for the season. Fellow running back Jake Holm has two 100-yard games and 273 yards total. When Holm was unable to play against Lakota/Adams-Edmore, quarterback Jeremy Ulvog rushed for 147 yards to go along with the 424 yards Flanagan picked up.
"There have been years when we've struggled to get 800 to 1,000 yards rushing as a team for the whole season,' veteran D/V-E coach Murph Thompson said. "To have one kid get 424 yards in a game, that was pretty amazing. It was a phenomenal effort. Kilen was running over some people. He kept his balance
when he was hit and just wasn't going to be knocked down by one tackler.
"Kilen's not very big. But he has surprising power. He can run over people. And he's more quick than fast. He's shifty, with good moves and nice balance.'
Despite the big game against Lakota/Adams-Edmore, Flanagan doesn't figure to be the featured back for the Blue Knights. With Holm also showing that he consistently can pick up yardage, Drayton/Valley-Edinburg figures to have a share-the-wealth look in its offense.
"Jake is a little bit faster and a little bit bigger than Kilen,' Thompson said. "They're both excellent high school running backs. We try to run a balanced offense.'
Offense hasn't been a problem for the Blue Knights, who have averaged 42.5 points in their past four games. That potent attack hasn't been able to offset a defense that allows an average of 44 points a game, thus leading to a 2-3 record. But Drayton/Valley-Edinburg has been more competitive since going back to emphasis on the running game.
"We went to more of a spread offense at the start of the year because we felt it would be a more explosive, big-play offense,' Thompson said. "We aren't very big, so we were concerned about how we would be able to sustain drives in a run-oriented offense against some of the big teams in our region. But we only rushed for 27 yards in our first game. With the athletes we have, we felt that wasn't acceptable, so we decided to go back to our old offense and go right at people.'
But neither Thompson nor Flanagan anticipated a game in which a Blue Knights back exceeded 400 rushing yards.
"It's hard to explain,' Flanagan said. "We were just running our offense well. The linemen were doing a good job and I was just running hard.
"When somebody told me after the game how many yards I had, it didn't seem right. I wasn't worried about stats; I was disappointed that we lost. Then, the next day, I realized what an accomplishment it was. It was probably the game of my life. But I'm still disappointed that we didn't get a win.'
To put 424 yards into perspective, that one game accounted for about two-thirds of the total yards Flanagan gained during the entire 2010 season, when he rushed for 683 yards.
"When you think about it that way, it's pretty crazy, isn't it," Flanagan said.