Boasting a dominant aerial circus and a coaching staff second to none, Brethren Christian (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
is a slumbering giant in the world of high school football.
Probably the only team in the country with four coaches who have professional playing experience, the Warriors have gotten off to a strong 3-1 start entering Friday's home game against Heritage Christian (North Hills, Calif.). Their prolific no-huddle spread offense has averaged 43.5 points per game.
The triggerman is
, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior quarterback who has completed 65 of 111 passes for 1,051 yards and 21 touchdowns with just three interceptions. On last year's unbeaten JV team, he fired 23 touchdown passes in seven games and was intercepted just three times.
Offensive/defensive coordinator Ryan O'Hara has great confidence in his young signal caller.
"(McInally) is free to call any audible at the line of scrimmage," O'Hara told MaxPreps. "He basically is a coach on the field."
McInally, who is a pure pocket passer, has a big-time target in Guy Demazelier
, and several other receivers who are quite capable. He is protected by a line that averages 265 pounds and has allowed just six sacks this year.
Demazelier, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound sophomore, has caught 18 passes for 288 yards and eight touchdowns in three and one-quarter games. Due to an injury, he played only the first quarter during last week's loss to St. Anthony (Long Beach, Calif.), but is expected back on Friday.
On the JV team last year Demezelier, who runs 40 yards in 4.6 seconds and has a 34-inch vertical jump, was unstoppable. He was promoted to the varsity and had a pair of scoring receptions in his first game before injuring his thumb and missing the rest of the year.
However, McInally has three other targets who each have gained over 200 yards in receptions.
Junior Austin Gorrell
(6-0, 160) has 17 catches for 280 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Anthony Moore
(5-8, 145) has 15 catches for 267 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while sophomore Brandon Bryson
(5-7, 140) has 15 catches for 216 yards and six touchdowns.
And in one more week, the Warriors will add another big threat when transfer Jared Fuga
, a 6-foot, 180-pound junior wide receiver, becomes eligible.
The architect of this budding program is Pat McInally, father of Jack, who started as a volunteer coach when Jack was in seventh grade. McInally is a cerebral guy who played his college football at Harvard University before spending 11 years in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was a wide receiver and punter, leading the league twice in average yards per punt. He also made the Pro Bowl in 1982, the same year the Bengals were runners-up in the Super Bowl.
McInally, who also works with wide receivers, took over the head coaching position in 2011 and led the Warriors to a 6-4 record — its first winning mark since 2004 — and a playoff berth.
"It reminded me of the Midwest in the 1950s," McInally said of Brethren Christian when he started as a volunteer. "We had 16 on the varsity and a couple probably should have been managers."
The Division 12 school has just 230 students in grades 9-12. It has produced only two Division 1 college players in its history, but McInally is slowly changing that landscape as more and more top prospects join his program.
One way he has managed to entice and cultivate talent is by hiring a superb staff of coaches last year.
O'Hara is a private quarterback coach who has 38 clients in Southern California. An Elite 11 Quarterback Camp selection in high school, he played at the University of Arizona and the University of Central Oklahoma. He then threw 24 touchdown passes during one year in the Arena Football League before injuries ended his career.
O'hara showed dedication last year, commuting two hours, but now he's just 15 to 20 minutes away from the school.
"We just continue to score a lot of points and take what the defense gives us," O'Hara said. "We're a little bit ahead of the game on offense. We continue to grow. We're getting more awareness of our coaches and the program."
Taking care of strength and conditioning, special teams and the kicking game is Joe Prokop, who spent seven years with six teams in the NFL as a punter, holder and backup quarterback. Prokop, who has a one-hour drive each way from Claremont, Calif., calls Brethren Christian "a great school with great kids and great parents."
The long trip each day is worthwhile, he pointed out, because he also trains athletes at the school in other sports. Among those he works with is 7-foot-5 basketball player Mamadou Ndiaye.
Prokop admits that the small-school program has "a huge mountain to climb. A lot of these kids have not been taught how to tackle until they get in ninth grade. Most of our guys go two ways, but the bottom line is that I work on their conditioning so they can do it. They're a determined bunch who understand what we are trying to accomplish.
"I think we're going to have a super year this year and we're very small on seniors (five on the team). Next year, no doubt will be a super year."
This year McInally added former University of Kansas star Kerwin Bell to his elite staff. Bell, who had brief tryouts in three professional leagues, was California State Player of the Year in 1979 and he coaches the running backs. He lives just 300 yards from the school and had been working out at the nearby park after moving from Dallas.
"I had no intentions of being a coach," he said. "I own my own healthcare company and it's a good break for me to get away from the everyday grind. It's been a good experience."
Though slowed by a knee injury after his sophomore year in college, Bell brings the experience of playing preseason games for teams in the United States Football League, the National Football League and the Canadian Football League before returning to Kansas to complete his degree.
McInally concedes that lack of depth is a problem. He counts just 18 players that he considers his varsity team, with another 20 basically filling out the JV roster. The good news is that 10 starters are underclassmen.
McInally expects to draw more and more talented players in the future because of his wide-open offense and the experience of his coaching staff.
"We were undefeated (two ties) in the passing league last summer," McInally pointed out. "A number of the (opposing) coaches remarked that they would like to run our offense. For anyone in our small-school division, I wouldn't trade our (top) 18 kids. Our kids can play; we just don't have the depth. Everybody we play is at least twice as big as us.
"We are very pleased with what we're doing this year. If we can win a playoff game, it would be awesome. We're working and improving. Our real shot is next year."