Precision, team effort key in St. Paul’s wishbone offense

When running the wishbone offense, precision is the key.
“Everything has to be perfect,” St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly said Monday during his team’s practice. “You can’t just put a play in. You have to rep it, rep it and rep it.”

St. Paul head coach Jude Kelly keeps a watchful eye on his players
during a drill with the sled at Monday’s practice.

If you’ve ever seen a Kelly practice, that’s exactly what the Falcons do. Run the play, then run it again, and again.
Running a successful wishbone starts up front, and St. Paul has some solid lineman. There’s Dominic Aiello, a 6-foot-1, 285-pound junior who controls the line on offense and defense. Juniors Devon Dawson (6-0, 250), Eric Langland (6-4, 215) and Jared Morrissey (6-1, 210) are in the trenches with Aiello on the offensive line. Sophomore Dylan Gagnon (5-11, 250) rounds out the front line.
You can’t run the wishbone without blocking, and the offensive line has been doing a great job for the Falcons.
As Kelly puts it, however, everyone has to do their job for the wishbone to work. That goes for whatever version of the wishbone formation is run, be it with two split ends, two tight ends. It doesn’t matter. Everyone must do their job.
St. Paul has used different combinations of Noah Mendoza, Dan Spatafore Jr., Joe Aiello and Zach Parent at the split end and tight end positions.
A good wishbone needs a good quarterback, and sophomore Kevin Ashworth has been solid at running the offense. Ashworth has to be good with fakes, and make wise decisions on the option.
In the backfield, there’s halfbacks Damien Rabis and Chris Dionne, and fullback Pierce Piana. Rabis and Dionne provide quickness on the outside, while Piana pounds away in the middle. St. Paul will also rotate multiple backs.
The wishbone isn’t fun to stop, and the Falcons work hard at making it a less than enjoyable experience for opposing defenses.