A Rap Guide To The HISD Football Playbook

Football season is underway for HISD middle schools. Rocks Off helps coach a 7th and 8th grade team. Which means we've been working fervently with 12-to-14-year-olds these past three weeks, aimlessly trying to get them to understand how to identify which side of the offense is the strong side when most of them can't even figure out whether they're on offense or defense.

Some conversations that have taken place since practice started:

Coach: Why didn't you intercept the ball?! It came right to you.

Player: I'm the safety.

Coach: ...

Player: The safety can do that?

Coach: ...Get off the field, son.

Coach: Why didn't you jump on that fumble, son?!

Player: I didn't wanna get my shirt dirty.

Coach: ...Get off the field, son.

Cornerback: What position are you?

Linebacker: I don't know.

Cornerback: I think you're cornerback.

Linebacker: Okay, thanks. Are we on offense?

Player: Coach, my helmet won't fit through my jersey.

Coach: Give it here. Let me see. ...Son, you're putting your head through the sleeve.

Player: Oh, okay. Thanks, coach.

Alas, the team marches forward. And even if we win zero games (a distinct possibility), this year we are cooler than ever, because we have several plays in our binder named after Houston rappers. No shit.

It started as a joke, but has morphed into a legit thing. And it appears it might even be helping. Seventh-grade girls love being coy and clever; they pay extra close attention to that sort of thing. So do football players. Go figure. At any rate, a peek into the playbook at the five we're (planning on) using regularly:

Play Name: Quarterback Option to the Left

How It Works: The quarterback fakes the handoff to the fullback, then rolls to the left and attacks the left B gap. The running back is in tow at a wider angle. If there is a crease, the quarterback exploits it. If the defensive end closes it, the quarterback pitches the ball to the running back. Ideally, the linebacker will be occupied by the tight end, who has pulled to the left side for that specific purpose.

What The Play Has Been Disguised As: Swang! Swang! Swang!

Named After: Trae's "Swang"

Why: Because of one line from the song: "I'ma swang, I'ma swang, I'ma swang to the left." Simple stuff.

Play Name: 3-2 Dive

How It Works: We line up with our biggest, strongest player in the running back position. (At the moment, it's a boy named M who is built like a rhinoceros.) The ball is hiked, given to him, and he explodes through the right A gap, demolishing any linebacker foolish enough to put his nose in the way.

What The Play Has Been Disguised As: Pro! Pro! Pro!

Named After: Propain

Why: Because of the excellently demonstrative "Fuck you, pay Pro" line in his underappreciated "Don't Even Worry 'Bout It." There are no tricks or gimmicks or gadgets to this play. As soon as we line up for it, every respectable defense knows what's about to happen.

We only run it on short-yardage situations and on the goal line. Got the ball on the two yard line, early in the fourth quarter with a chance to put a boot on the other team's throat, and their defense is desperate to keep those six points out of our pocket? Fuck you, pay Pro.

*We explained this in a completely different manner to the team. As much as we'd like to, we refrain from cussing at young teenagers. Even ones who have accidentally tackled their own players.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Shea Serrano