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"Celebrating Excellence". Bayer heads to the "Bunker" to keep Housy on winning track. Story by John Nestor.
This story brought to you by: Litchfield Saltwater Grille
According to his bio in the Housatonic/Wamogo football program, if you can't find coach Deron Bayer he is fishing. If it's football season, check the bunker.
Over the past season and a third I've seen the Mountaineers play five times, they play hard, they play a full 48 minutes and you are never quite sure what you are going to see next. That's thanks to the bunker.
The Bunker is a room in coach Bayer's basement that is chock full of everything and anything you want to know about single-wing football. It's a bit of an unconventional offense these days, especially when you turn on the TV and see the airial show that the NFL has become and more and more college programs spreading formations and airing it out.
But in the bunker Bayer tinkers and studies and learns and tinkers some more and what he has come up with has made the Mountaineers one of the feel-good stories of the 2011 season so far. Housatonic/Wamogo is 3-0 for the first time since the early 90s and has set itself up to play some meaningful football over the next two months.
That's right, more time in the bunker for Bayer.
"At my house we call it the bunker. My room down in the basement where I have about 400 crates of single wing stuff I've collected since I started studying it in 2000 or so," Bayer said. "I have 400 single wings books down there and that's where I study the offense."
A run-heavy offense, Housatonic's single wing is also a tempo offense. The Mountaineers don't huddle and try to wear teams down by relentlessly running it at them play after play. It's been working more often than not lately despite a roster of 38 players that includes 10 freshmen.
But the small roster sometimes requires some finessing, in this case it required Bayer to make a special trip to the bunker and the result was surprising.
On a muddy, rain-soaked field at Canton High School on Saturday, Housatonic came out for a second half drive and changed things up, going to a four-receiver set and throwing the ball with success. One of the four-wide series ended with a beautiful 30-yard TD pass from senior Will Perotti to sophomore receiver Jeremy Stiewing.
It was all born out of necessity accordind to the coach, taking into account numbers, opposing defenses and the need for an offense that could make up a deficit in a hurry if need be, something the traditional single wing usually doesn't.
"That was all still the single wing, the line is still unbalanced," Bayer said. "It's Dutch Meyer's spread single wing from the 1950s with TCU."
Bayer learned it by studying the legendary coach but he found out he needed it on a stormy day early in the preseason.
"It was early third day of practice and it was pouring, lightning and we had to go into the gym," Bayer said. "So we did some conditioning in the gym and we did some walk thru and I called all the other linemen over so they could see and I said where are all the linemen and they said 'coach we're all here' and we had only seven linemen.
"With the seven linemen I realized we had no backups with any experience so I went home to the bunker and I looked up Dutch Meyer, he's the father of spread fotball and when he was at TCU in 1954 its a spread single wing. I had to come up with something so we could not only help out some inexperienced linemen but also deal with what Canton did and what other opposing defenses try to do when they walk up guys and play nine in the box."
Problem solved as the Mountaineers showed they have the ability to go to the air, not only if they have to, but if they want to, which will make them all that much harder to prepare for as the season goes along.
With a week off and no game until Oct. 15 when the Mountaineers look for win number four on the season at Granby, Bayer will no doubt be back in the bunker coming up with even more ways to stay successful.
And while having his offense go to the air is one way they have had success, Bayer knows that the only way the Mountaineers will be successful is if they keep their feet on the ground.
"I'm 0-0 by the way, the kids are the ones who are 3-0," Bayer said. "We have to go back and work on basics, we have a bye week so we are going to work on tackling, condition like crazy and get back after it. We have a lot of work to do even though we are 3-0.
"I told the kids that people are going to start walking up them they and say 'wow 3-0' and all kids of things because they don't understand the game of football. All of that kind of stuff is poison, it may be nice to listen to but its poison if you swallow it."
But there's probably a cure for that down in the bunker too.