There's something up at Terry Fox.
And while the senior football team isn't abandoning the run game, the ball will be in the air a lot more this season.
The Terry Fox Ravens will enter the 2012 B.C. High School AAA football season with a new playbook - one that features a lot more passing than in past years.
With the addition of Jason Parachnowitsch to the coaching staff - taking over the offensive coordinator role from Martin McDonnell - the playbook is getting updated.
"It's more of a philosophical change than anything," says McDonnell, who retains his cocoaching duties alongside Tom Kudaba. "Jason brings a wealth of new ideas from his work at Handsworth and Windsor - The timing is right, because we are stronger at wide receiver than running back."
The school has been blessed with some outstanding running and fullbacks over the years - with the likes of Tibi Banica, Jacob Patko and Jared Soll anchoring past offences. This year, while the backfield is still a strength, the strong arm of returning quarterback Trevor Casey has created an opportunity that the club hopes to take advantage of.
Add in the skills of receiver Brian Hope and tight end Brad Lyons, and others to emerge as the season approaches, and a new gameplan couldn't have come at a better time.
"It's natural that teams have tendencies but it was well-known that we would run it three times out of four," noted the co-coach. "It went from a good situation where teams knew our tendencies but started calling out [the play] names when we were lining up."
Casey, at six-foot-four, had only 36 pass attempts during the 2011 regular season, completing 11 while averaging 30 yards a game.
The multisport athlete, who is also a big piece to the Fox basketball team, has looked comfortable in the new, more air-prone attack.
"Trev is going to be a key part of our team, and at quarterback, he's ready to take that step," said McDonnell. "He's looking good and throwing the ball well. We're going with a spread offence with no huddle so that means we need to know our plays, react quickly and throw the ball a ton. It's going to be a new look."
The defence remains strong, bolstered by the addition of Kyle Deugau, Kyle Sagmoen, Jason Shamatutu and Yanda Yano, all part of last year's 4-1 junior squad.
For Fox, the goal is to take another step towards being a contender for the B.C. crown.
Last year's squad finished 2-3 in the regular season and lost their playoff game 31-0 to W.J. Mouat, who advanced all the way to the final before losing 42-35 to Mount Douglas.
To improve on last year's record, the Ravens will face severe conditions, thanks to the newly implemented crossover schedule.
In late August, the Ravens played host to a home-and-home series of practices and controlled scrimmages with Ottawa's St. Mark High School. While in PoCo, the two teams simply worked out and ran through drills, though the clubs did get in a controlled scrimmage while in the nation's capital. The result was a 42-7 Fox win, though no stats were kept.
"They're in a re-building year with their program, but it was good experience for our players to get them ready for the pre-season," Kudaba said.
Fox's first real test is an exhibition match in Blaine, Wash., this Friday, Sept 7, followed by a tilt against defending champion Mount Doug.
The exhibition season concludes against West Vancouver on Sept. 21, with the regular season kicking off against the Western Conference's Notre Dame, Sept. 28 at Percy Perry Stadium.
The will also crossover to the West to face Vancouver College on Oct. 27.
"It will be one of the toughest schedules we ever had - It's definitely going to be a challenging year but I think our returning players will have benefited from last year's playoff run. Beating Lord Tweedsmuir in overtime (21-20) got us in. That was a real character builder," said McDonnell.