The Skyline football team has won 14 state championships and finished five seasons undefeated, but the Eagles haven't won more than eight games in a season since 2005, the last year they won a state title.
So for longtime coach Steve Marlowe, who is in his second year as the coach after 26 years of being an assistant, the time is right to innovate.
"We're implementing a flexbone offense, which we've run for 29 years," Marlowe said. "And we're melding it into a fast-pace offense with a spread option."
Marlowe said his offense will try to run a play every 17 seconds, and the up-tempo nature will keep defenses off their guard as they switch back and forth from the flexbone to the spread option without substituting players.
The defense will use more traditional assets to its advantage: size and strength. On the defensive line, the Eagles will start 310-pound junior Machi Ubani, 245-pound senior Jake Wittwer and 250-pound senior Hanani Aiono, a transfer from Highland.
Twin brothers Roman and Andre Salehi will be the safeties in the defensive backfield. They'll be flanked by Dallen Slaugh and Parker Bowles, "probably the best two corners we've had in a long time," Marlowe said. "They're quick as cats and real feisty."
ASSIGNMENT • Region 7
LAST YEAR • 5-5 overall, 4-1 Region 7
KEY RETURNER • Chris Williams, sr., ATH. Williams averaged more than 5 yards per carry and 18 yards per catch last season and will be the focal point as both a running back and receiver in the new flexbone and spread-option hybrid offense. He'll also play defensive back.
PLAYERS TO WATCH • Hanani Aiono, sr., OL/DL. He was chosen for the All-Combine Team at a Nike event in Los Angeles hosting over 1,500 high school football players in March. After sitting out last season, Aiono is ready to make D-I colleges take notice.
BIGGEST HOLES • Coach Marlowe said that special teams are important but often overlooked, and he's still trying to find his starting kicker and punter.
NEED TO KNOW • The last time Skyline had a losing season was 1988 when it went 4-6, but last year's 5-5 record broke a streak of 23 straight winning seasons.