No one was as excited as Tom Creguer for Shepherd High’s 2010 season.
The Bluejays went 5-4 a year earlier and were returning their starting quarterback, the entire offensive line and a standout wide receiver.
Their option offense was high-powered and had scored a combined 382 points during Creguer’s first two seasons as coach. Nothing was going to stop Shepherd from snapping its five-year playoff drought.
That’s why Creguer was surprised when Shepherd finished 1-8. After looking at the film, he noticed the Bluejays had lost seven games because of fumbles, especially those late in games.
“It was like divine intervention,” Creguer said. “You couldn’t have set us up any better for that season. We were just going to roll.
“For us to go 1-8, I would have bet my house against that, and I’m not a betting man. All of a sudden, I’m a bad coach, and everyone wondered what was wrong. I started watching film and looked at ball security.”
That season led Creguer to examine everything about the art of carrying the ball. He looked at its physics, the way the ball’s leather conforms to a ballcarrier’s arms, and the different pressure points and techniques coaches were incorrectly teaching players.
What resulted was the High and Tight football, a multisensory training ball that makes a beeping sound when the carrier is holding it correctly.
When a carrier holds the ball in their hands and against their forearm and chest correctly, the ball beeps to let them know it is high and tight — one of the best ways to prevent fumbling.
“I used to do the same stuff all the other coaches did,” said Creguer, who is a sales consultant for SportsAddix, a uniform company in Lowell.
Several youth, high school, college and professional programs across the nation have started training its players with High and Tight footballs.
Last Sunday, NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya demonstrated using a High and Tight football and talked about the benefits of using it. She explained how Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has used it to lessen his fumbling.
Creguer, now the running backs coach at Northwood, said the Timberwolves started using High and Tight footballs last year. They cut their fumbles in half, going from 14 in 2014 to seven in 2015.
He said the team has only two fumbles through four games this season.
High and Tight footballs are available for $170 each at highandtight.com.