Football Preview: Lowell not shying away from running ways

Lowell’s (from left) Ryan Ng, Paul Cho and Jackie Tang will play key roles for the Cardinals this season. (Photo by Clarivel Fong)

By Josh Levine

After a 5-5 season, including scoring 24 points on a stifling Mission defense in a first-round Academic Athletic Association playoff loss, Lowell is looking only forward.

Sticking with their infamous double-wing offense, the Cardinals are setting their eyes on the biggest prize in the AAA – Turkey Day.

“It’s not a regular offense and it’s really hard to prepare for,” said Lowell head coach Danny Chan. “It all depends on what horses we have on the front line and there is a certain attitude our players need for that offense. Our offensive line is key for us this year.”

Returning senior quarterback Michael McCarthy ran for nearly 200 yards in a playoff loss to Mission last season, but will likely split time with fellow senior Will Frankel. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

That line will be led by senior Jackie Tang, who has played on the varsity squad and with the double-wing offense since his sophomore year.

“I’ve known this offense since I was a freshman. It’s simple but effective. A lot of people say we should run spread, but we don’t have the people or the talent for it,” Tang said. “When we went 1-8 (in 2010) we didn’t have the experience, but now we do. We just need to work on the small stuff and limit our mistakes.”

While the double-wing is not known for being flashy, it can be as effective as it is grinding. The quarterback can either hand the ball to his fullback, toss it to his running back, or run it himself. Add in the possibility of passing the ball, and the double-wing essentially becomes a quadruple-option. Lowell has been running the double-wing offense since 2000.

One of the biggest drawbacks to the double-wing is that it doesn’t effectively prepare the defensive unit for the possible offenses they will face. One of the challenges Chan faces every year is scouting opposing offenses and preparing his defensive unit for what they might see.

“I have been a scout for 19 years now,” Chan said. “We just really need to raise their football IQ and see the techniques used in football, not just what is on Madden. Al Gamboa, our defensive coordinator, is very key. He and I scout all the time and he’s been our defensive coordinator for eight years now. “

Not surprisingly, many of the Cardinals are looking forward to the Battle of the Birds rivalry game with Washington.

“You have to circle [the] Battle of the Birds each year, no matter how good either team is,” said quarterback Will Frankel. “I also look forward to Lincoln and Mission, because they were the two strongest (junior varsity) programs when I was a sophomore, so they should be tough with all of those sophomores being seniors now.”

Frankel, who started for most of last season, could possibly be splitting time under center with best friend Michael McCarthy.

McCarthy, who took over in the playoff game against Mission and ran for 199 yards on 28 carries, helps run a wildcat-type offense, while Frankel runs the double-wing.

“Mikey is my best friend and we’re two of the most competitive people on the team,” Frankel said. “There is no bitterness or resentment as to who will be taking snaps under center . . . This is our last time and we want to make it one of the most memorable years playing football.”

2012 Schedule – AAA games in bold

Week -1: Fri. 8/24 – vs. Terra Linda (San Rafael), 3:30 p.m.
Week 0: (Bye)
Week 1: Fri. 9/7 – vs. Tennyson (Hayward), 3:30 p.m.
Week 2: (Bye)
Week 3: Fri. 9/21 – @ Jefferson (Daly City), 7 p.m.
Week 4: Thu. 9/27 – vs. Mission, 3 p.m.
Week 5: Fri. 10/5 – vs. Marshall, 3 p.m.

Week 6: (Bye)
Week 7: Sat. 10/20 – @ Balboa, 2 p.m.
Week 8: Fri. 10/26 – vs. Washington @ Kezar Stadium, 7 p.m.
Week 9: Fri. 11/2 – @ Galileo, 3 p.m.
Week 10: Fri. 11/9 – vs. Lincoln, 2 p.m.

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