Vikings’ tandem leaves defenses seeing double

Published 2:36 pm Thursday, November 29, 2007

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
PLYMOUTH — They are so similar, it’s scary. They both play the same position, both are slightly undersized, and both have the speed and agility of a cheetah on steroids.
In the Vikings’ double-wing formation they mirror each other in more ways then one. Before the snap, they each stand positioned behind the last down lineman, slightly cocked towards the quarterback and, after the snap, they can usually be found positioned in the end zone.
Together, Plymouth running backs Tobias Clagon and Andre Mitchell have formed one of the area’s most dangerous tandems in recent history.
Mitchell was the first of the two to hit the spotlight last year when his big-play ability helped the Vikings capture an Atlantic Conference title and helped the back nab the WDN’s Offensive Player of the Year award.
Clagon caught up to his teammate in a hurry. This season, as opposing teams keyed on Mitchell, Clagon burst onto the scene. He has averaged nearly seven yards per carry and for over 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The Vikings’ back said improved team chemistry has helped the offense progress as a unit.
His counterpart was equally astonishing, rushing for over seven yards per carry en route to over 1,700 yards and 21 TDs.
Together the duo has left defensive coordinators seeing double as they have accounted for over 3,500 yards and a perfect 14-0 record.
While Clagon and Mitchell have lit up the scoreboard, a lot of that wouldn’t be possible if Dwayne Brooks didn’t light up opposing defenders.
Brooks, the Vikings’ fullback, played nose guard last season and was moved to the backfield this year. His only concern is making sure the Vikings’ two playmakers get to make plays.
Brooks said he doesn’t mind that he is often the overlooked back.
Cody applauded the attitude of his fullback.
When asked how many yards he has rushed for, Brooks answered the way any true fullback would by saying, “I really couldn’t tell you.”
To Mitchell and Clagon’s credit, Cody said that both have worked hard on their blocking and that has really impacted the Vikings’ ability to run the football this year.
But the fans don’t go to see the duo block; they go to see them run rampant through a loaded line of scrimmage, juke past linebackers and spin past the secondary for six points. The fans are rarely disappointed.
Brooks said that while their styles are similar, there are some subtle differences between Clagon and Mitchell.
Clagon said all three backs bring something to the table.
Cody said having two feature backs in his double-wing offense is huge from a coaching standpoint. In the past, Cody would have to shift his top runner to either side of the formation depending on what play was called. However, with two backs of equal stature, he can just call plays and not have to worry about tipping off the defense.
The luxury of having two prime time backs will no doubt come in handy this Friday when the Vikings plays host to Roanoke in the NCHSAA 1-A East regional.