They subscribe to the Keyshawn Johnson theory of playing the position: Just Give Me the Damn Ball. If it were up to them, they'd be in the spread offense and throw 50 times a game. First-and-10, third-and-inches, it wouldn't matter.
Only one problem, though: They play at Phoebus.
"I think we should have more passing yards and catches or whatever, but it is what it is," Phantoms wideout Romond Deloatch said. "We're Phoebus, and we're winning with the running game."
And why not? That's the Phantoms' way, and they've won five state championships this decade with it. Tyree Lee is the program's fifth tailback to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. And Phoebus has won a VHSL-record 43 consecutive games.
But the Phantoms, who visit Dinwiddie in Saturday's Group AAA Division 5 semifinals, can pass the ball. True, they're averaging only 10 attempts a game. But they also have 1,263 yards and 24 touchdowns by air.
A group of five receivers, each of whom goes at least 6-foot-2, is a big part of the reason. Deloatch, a 6-5 physical specimen, is the leader with 18 catches for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Breon Key, who at 6-2 has signed with Old Dominion for basketball, has 16 catches, 300 yards, and seven scores.
Next is 6-3 tight end Anthony Haste, a big/fast guy who is averaging 28.1 yards on nine catches (with four touchdowns). Daquan Romero, 6-2 and a two-way starter since his freshman year, and 6-4 transfer Rodriguez Jones have a combined 14 catches and six touchdowns.
"Any of our receivers can make plays," Romero said. "Whoever has the ball at the time can make the play. We all block for each other and we all believe in each other. I'm not going to say this receiving corps is the best that's ever been through here, but it's one of the top."
They've been so effective that one out of every three completions this season has been for a touchdown.
"I know if I get the ball to them," quarterback Jordan Roby said, "they'll do something special with it."
A classic example came in Friday night's 12-7 win over Hampton in the Eastern Region final. Phoebus trailed 7-3 and faced fourth-and-goal from the 6-yard line with 3 minutes left. Romero ran a drag route over the middle, made the catch near the 1-yard line, and dove into the end zone.
"We knew who they were going to," Crabbers coach Mike Smith said, "but we couldn't stop it."
If Hampton had stopped it, you wouldn't be reading this story.
Deloatch is the big possession receiver with deceptive speed. A basketball player by winter, he's used to going up for rebounds. In Phoebus' win over Bethel, he made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.
Key saw a only a handful of plays as a receiver last year, but the coaching staff knew in preseason he could be dangerous. He proved them right in the opener with two touchdown receptions.
Haste is officially a back-up to Romero at tight end but he's the team's third-leading receiver. He had an 87-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown against Bethel. Jones has only seven catches, but one was a leaping grab in the corner of the end zone against Woodside.
With most corners 5-10 or thereabouts, the Phoebus receivers can use their size and strength.
"The smaller corners aren't as physical as us," Key said. "If (Roby) just wants to chuck it up there, we can make the play for him."
"We're all big targets, and we all have college size," Deloatch added. "When we get the ball in our hands, we pretty much get in the end zone. We just need to get the ball in our hands a little bit more."
And there it is. All receivers want to be offensive coordinators, and they'd love nothing better than to run the spread. Given the size and athleticism of the receivers and Roby's accuracy, it would probably work.
"We all know we can make plays along with Tyree," Key said. "But it depends on the play-calling."
Phoebus coach Stan Sexton and offensive coordinator Alonzo Coley get unsolicited advice on that all the time.
"They want us to throw the ball 60 times a game, and that's not going to happen," he said. "But I'll say this: Yeah, they want the ball thrown to them, and yeah, they can be a pain in the neck sometimes. But when it comes to it, our guys block extremely well for Tyree out on the perimeter.
"They work hard at it. As much of a pain in the neck as they are, they do a good job. Not only do they want to be the best catching receivers on the field, they want to be the best blocking receiver, too."
As for their Just Give Me the Damn Ball approach, Sexton says that's the way it should be.
"If you have a receiver worth anything, they want you to throw the ball to them," he said. "They want to be playmakers, and that's what you want. You want to have confident receivers."
These guys aren't lacking in that department.
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