The referees, announcers and videographers don't like it - defenses hate it.
With more wrinkles than a December leaf, the triple option can make anybody look like a fool when it's run properly.
Whether from the wishbone, veer or spread formation, the formula for success takes seasons, perhaps years, to perfect. And that's just the reason all eyes will be focused on Northern Lebanon's senior backfield on Friday nights this fall.
The 2011 Vikings' trio - quarterback Tanner Dresch, running back Ryan Daub and fullback Colton Ryan - enter their final year together with one collective goal, a trip to the District Three playoffs. A year ago, Northern Lebanon finished 4-6 under first-year head coach Roy Wall.
"We're definitely looking to make the playoffs now that we have a year under our belt," Dresch said. "We should start a lot better than last year; it should be a lot smoother. We can't have a rough start like we did last year (0-3)."
Beginning at the age of 8 in the Fredericksburg feeder system, the triumvirate has worked their way through the pee-wee, pony and midget levels, fine-tuning some derivative of the running play reserved mainly for the scholastic and collegiate ranks.
"We go in with a game plan, we're going to run our option," said Wall. "But if you are making unsound adjustments to stop that, we're going to make sound adjustments and throw the ball."
It all starts with Dresch, the lynchpin behind center,
"I like to run it," said Dresch, who also passed for 934 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010. "We all know how to play together. We have that chemistry and that feel for what each other are going to do on every play."
Ryan is the first option, a 6-0, 215-pound bulldozer who plows into the interior of the defense, either accepting Dresch's handoff or acting as a decoy. In two years, Ryan has rushed for a team-best 1,465 yards to go with 18 touchdowns.
If Dresch keeps the ball, he will dash parallel to the line of scrimmage with Daub diagonally flanking him to his outside shoulder. The defensive end determines his next course of action.
If the defender is passive, Dresch will tuck the ball and sprint up field. If the end attacks, the 6-0, 190-pound quarterback will pitch to Daub in stride, ready to bounce down the sideline. Or if Daub, the top-seeded wrestler in the 160-pound class at last winter's L-L meet, feels the need for contact, he can turn inside.
"It all depends on what the defense does," said Wall. "It's just based on what you play us. If you're going to play us with a nine-man box, we're going to throw. Our last game against Pequea (Valley), we threw the ball for 310 yards. (Dresch) was 10-of-11 and had four touchdowns. He can pass the ball."
But numbers are no concern for the Vikings; wins are all that matters.
"We'll never have the big stats because all three of us share the ball," stated Dresch, the cousin of Travis Dresch, the Vikings' all-time
Thrust into the starting role when Nate McKillop broke his collarbone in the 2009 preseason, Dresch is seven wins shy of Matt Nolan's school-high record 17, accumulated from 2006 to 2008.
Nolan, along with Travis Dresch, were also both members of the last team to hand Lancaster Catholic a loss in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The Vikes' upset the Crusaders 17-13 late in 2008, snapping a 23-game section win streak at the time.