Tonganoxie Typically, a quarterback has to know when - or when not - to throw the ball while under pressure.
In an offense that simply runs the ball, the quarterback's job becomes even easier.
But Tonganoxie High's quarterback Jeff Hughes has more options to consider than the "typical" quarterback.
Tongie coach Mark Elston loves the option, and Hughes can run it effectively, such as was the case Friday in the Chieftains' 28-7 victory over Class 5A Mill Valley in a battle of undefeated teams.
"That's what Tonganoxie football is - you line up and play smash-mouth football," Hughes said. "We've always done that."
Though Hughes never found the end zone, he set up Daniel Volk for a five-yard TD as the defenders zeroed in on the quarterback.
It was understandable that the Jaguars' defense would think to stop Hughes before concerning themselves with Volk.
The Chieftain quarterback held onto the ball 27 times for 151 yards.
Though Tonganoxie attempted only three passes all night, Hughes completed all three by going to Tyler Miles twice for 15 yards and Zeb Kissinger for 15.
"They gave us the opportunity to throw with the way their defense alignment set up, especially in the first half - which we probably should have thrown the ball more to loosen them up a little bit," Elston said. "But we wanted to kill the clock. : Because they have three backs that can flat fly, and we didn't want them getting loose."
Volk had three rushing touchdowns with 102 yards and got an interception on defense.
Hughes, too, plays both ways and made a big defensive play just before the half.
With the Chieftains clinging to a seven-point lead, the Jaguars reached Tongie's 32-yard line. After the defensive line forced Mill Valley's Trey Scott out of the pocket - a reccurring event throughout the game - and Scott forced a pass deep, Hughes picked it off after barely keeping his feet in bounds.
"I think Trey throws the ball pretty well. I just think that if he doesn't have a clear lane to a receiver, it's tough," Mill Valley coach George Radell said. "Then, obviously, in the second half protection started to break down, and that hurts. Other than that, I think Trey threw the ball well."
The defense also came up big against the Jaguars' ground attack, particularly against Kansas State recruit Justin Woods.
Woods came into the game averaging nearly 175 yards per game.
But just like last year's match-up, the Chieftains held Woods in check: 20 yards on eight carries.
"The holes were not there. We tried wide, and it didn't necessarily work, and we tried between the tackles, and it didn't work," Radell said. "I think it starts with their defensive ends. If we're not getting defensive ends blocked, it's hard to get your tailback going."
Friday's showing added to the Chieftains' defensive confidence.
"Well, our defense is a confident bunch anyway, which is good, because we talk about the difference between cocky and confident, and we're pretty confident on defense as we are on offense," Elston said. "But they take a great amount of pride every day in practice. So it shows up on Saturday in films, because nobody wants to be the guy that's pointed out."
Tonganoxie 28, Mill Valley 7
Mill Valley 0 7 0 0 - 7
Tonganoxie 7 7 7 7 - 7
T-Todd Brown 2 run (Jeff Hughes kick)
MV-Miles Malec 26 pass from Trey Scott (Connor Koch kick)
T-Daniel Volk 5 run (Hughes kick)
T-Volk 1 run (Hughes kick)
T-Volk 10 run (Hughes kick)