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Shepherd football riding dominant running game into Class B quarterfinals

Posted at 4:33 PM, Nov 04, 2022

Across all levels of football, good teams tend to take on the identity of their coaching staff.

The Shepherd Mustangs epitomize that, as they’ve embraced a ground-and-pound attack on offense.

“When we were in summer camp, it got pretty violent out here. That's what you want to see. You want to see people not afraid to get physical, and it made us change basically what our offense was," Shepherd assistant coach Russ Hale said. "We were kind of more of a spread-look team. Out of the spread look, our kids liked running the ball, so we went all in on it."

The Mustang offense is a bit of a throwback in what has become a pass-happy game. That physical approach has worn on teams late in games all season.

“When you talk about smash-mouth football, it's kind of a lost art. I feel like a lot of defenses are so used to play against these spread looks where it's not physical every down," Hale said. "When you have the ability to do what we're doing, and there's a couple other teams here locally do something similar, it is that. I just think that kids aren't physically and mentally prepared to take that amount of punishment."

With the weather turning for the worse, Shepherd won’t have to adjust much on offense.

The Mustangs are slated to host Missoula Loyola on Saturday at 1 pm.