5 Best Youth Football Trick Plays

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Best Youth Football Trick Plays

Here are my 5 Best Youth Football Trick Plays voted and commented on by other football coaches in several coaching forums around the web and social media sites. I chose these 5 trick plays because either I have run them on my little league teams, been run against my pee wee defenses or trick plays that I believe can easily be adjusted and coached and run at the youth level from maybe 8U to 12U age groups.

I did not include trick plays that involved hiding the football or talking to refs or coaches before a “real” snap count since I think this is taking advantage of young football players that are still learning the game. I wanted to include youth football trick plays that a pee wee football coach could actually call a “football play.” So yes, I am sure there will be debate about the list, but enjoy the 5 best youth football trick plays list and leave comments below and or your debate about your favorite play not making my top trick play list.

#1 Best Youth Football Trick Plays – Statue of Liberty

Pretty Easy Play to Install and Run

We run the Statue of Liberty play with 10u older and more experienced youth football teams quite a bit. Since this play is now part of our playbook, this is why its my #1 of the 5 best youth football trick plays. Below is actual game video from our 2015 12U KYA youth football season in Keller / North Fort Worth, Texas.

During the 2015, we were able to run this Statue of Liberty play many times, since our quarterback was much shorter than our giant tight end who had some decent speed. The boys loved the trick play and we called the play “New York, New York.”

You can run this play from about any type of passing formation. I’ve run it out of a 2×2 Spread and also had some success with the trick play. You can run it with a taller QB but the exchange is a little different. The QB can actually fake pass then football then swing arm down for the handoff. The key to this play is the pass play set up. The defense must really think you are going to pass in one direction which is why I like to run this play from my Beast Jumbo Even Trips set.

Would you include this trick play on your best youth football trick plays list? In the comments below let me know why or why not.

#2 Best Youth Football Trick Plays – Throwback to QB

DW Double Reverse Throwback Pass to QB

Along with the Beast Offense, I am a big Double Wing Offense fan. We’ve run a Double Wing variation (Speed) that grew from the Weiner Spin Spread DW, Vallotton Toss DW, Gregory DW, Meyers and Bell Double Wings here in Texas. I’ve also seen many youth football coaches around Colorado and Texas run different forms of the Double Wing.

Because a fellow coach in my pee wee football league ran this play in our 10 U age division, this is my #2 pick on the 5 best youth football trick plays list.

Double Wing QB Throwback Pass Trick Play

One of the better youth football coaches here in my DFW area, inspired me to add this play to the best youth football trick plays. A reader on Offensive Football Junkies suggested the QB throwback play as a great trick play and I remembered Coach Allen’s play from a few years ago in a KYA Football Playoff game. The opposing Gator team was undefeated and a stacked and a very talented pee wee football team. All of us in the Division were scrambling to figure out how to beat the Gators. Coach Allen and his Cowboys pulled this out and executed it with perfection in my opinion. Great job Coach!!

DW Double Reverse Throwback to QB Pass

I know from experience running the double reverse play passing to the Tight End or Split End is a timing nightmare. Being able to pass back to the quarterback is a feat any youth football coach and team should be proud of, especially for a recreational 10U pee wee football team. Not to mention a TD on the play. Great job Cowboys.

Did this convince you to put it on your 5 best youth football plays list? Leave me a comment below.

#3 Best Youth Football Trick Plays – Stupid Sweep

Crazy Overloaded Sweep to One Side

Several coaches on the football forums voted for the Stupid Sweep. I only learned about the Stupid Sweep a few years ago and it looks like a blast to run. We have toyed with the Stupid Sweep but never as Coach Bruce Eien outlines in his video below. If I trusted my youth football Centers I would love to try the complete naked backside snap. However our snaps have never been so fast and accurate to try out this play as he runs it. Maybe this season in scrimmages.

This made #3 on my 5 best youth football trick plays list since we run something very similar to this play with great success.

Coach Eien’s Stupid Sweep Video & Play Diagram

Our Beast Wide or Worm formation is almost a Stupid Sweep formation but do not complete the naked backside. In the past on a few occasions we have tried with one wingback outside the Center but not comfortable enough to try in an actual game situation.

Worm Sweep - Stupid Sweep Trick Play
Worm Sweep – Similar to Stupid Sweep

We have also played with another version of our Stupid Sweep which we call Chow. Chow aligns the RBs on the line of scrimmage to hide them from the opposing coach. We will always run the Chow sweep play toward our sidelines thus making it difficult for the opposing coaches to catch our trickery.

Worm Chow Stupid Sweep Trick Play

Unlike Coach Eien I keep some blockers on the backside for my youth football teams. I think for older teams the naked backside might be a very effective play. I know the Beast Worm Sweep and Worm Chow Sweeps are very good to our youth football teams. I might have to try with only a single wing back outside the Center this up coming season. This might be doable at the youth level. What do you guys think? Have you run the naked Stupid Sweep at the youth football level?

Did the Stupid Sweep make your 5 best youth football trick plays list?

#4 Best Youth Football Trick Plays – Hook n Ladder

Play Ran against Us in a Scrimmage

Back in 2007 or 2008, one of the top coaches in the Arvada Youth Football Association ran this Hook and Ladder trick play against our youth football team. In a intra-league scrimmage day, we scored on his team which was a first in several years and I think he wanted to show me who was still top dog in the league. Later in the scrimmage as they were pounding us for scoring on them, the gave us the old #4 on the Best Youth Football Trick Plays list. Thanks Coach Pat!!!

I have been toying with the play from my new Squad Gang formation. I think this formation really sets up this trick play. Although it might be more deceptive just to run it from play action out of an Off-Set I or Split Backfield.

What do you think? Is the Hook and Ladder good enough to make the 5 best youth football trick plays list? Leave me a comment below.

Hook and Ladder Trick Play Youth Football

Here is the Hook and Ladder play from the Off-Set I formation. This is a play action play faking the sweep and throwing the hook and ladder to the backside.

Hook and Ladder youth football trick plays

I like the Hook and Ladder play concepts. Over the next two or three seasons, I would like to try the Hook and Ladder play out of the Gang Squad formation. We tested this play in practice with my 11U team but did not have the time to implement the practice reps needed to add to our game play call sheet. Soon I Hope.

Have you ran the Hook and Ladder play? Is it own your best youth football trick plays list? Let me know in the comments below.

#5 Best Youth Football Trick Plays – Swinging Gate / Lonesome Polecat

Two Trick Formations Similar Concepts

I remember watching college teams run these plays in the 70s and 80s when I watched football with my dad. They were fun then and so are today 40 years later. I recently read the Glenn “Tiger” Ellison book Run and Shoot Football: The Now Attack and he explains in detail his Lonesome Polecat formation.

Many coaches voted for the Swinging Gate play but I had to include the Lonesome Polecat formation in this mix here since they were so similar in concepts in my opinion. Spread the field, confuse the defense, make them make a mistake, find the empty grass, pick on the weakest area, and use your speed to score. What do you think? Are the trick formations similar?

Lonesome polecat formtation

In his iconic book, Coach Ellison goes into detail about his Lonesome Polecat formation and the plays that led to an undefeated season and 63 percent pass completions.

  • Dead Polecat
  • Live Polecat
  • Mad Polecat
  • Polecat Up the River
  • Cross Country Polecat
  • and 12 other Lonesome Polecat Plays
Swinging Gate Trick Play Formation
Swinging Gate Formation

There seems to be many differing Swinging Gate formations in the football library. A few I saw were from USA Football, Wikipedia, Coach Eien and various football coaching books in my personal coaching football library.

From the Swinging Gate formation, I like the pass to the Center and the Screen or Snap to the back behind the offensive lineman. These are my two favorite Swinging Gate plays. Did these plays make your best youth football trick plays list?

Here is Oregon executing a Swinging Gate series. Love this shift pre snap. Nice job.

I think the big difference from the Swinging Gate plays and the Lonesome Polecat plays is the shift. Usually the Swinging Gate will start out as another formation then swing into action getting the defense to move and spread. Anyone want to comment about the differences between the two similar trick formations, please leave me a comment below.

Swinging Gate Trick Plays

So, I did not just pick one play from the Swinging Gate formation. Since the play is really an audible play to open field. I included it as series of plays above. If I mist pick I would pick the screen to the HB or FB to the Squad side. Is this your favorite play on the best youth football trick plays list?

These two trick formations led to me playing around with spreading out a Notre Dame box formation into what I can Squad Gang. Squad is a formation that has two Squads; one for the QB and one for the TB. I thought this might be easier for my youth football players and limited practice time. See the formation diagram below.

Squad Gang Left Screen Youth Football Trick Play

I feel like the Squad Gang formation is simpler to implement and execute with a youth football team with little practice time than the Swinging Gate but with similar play concepts, strategies and outcomes. We are still working out all the kinks with the Squad formations. Stay tuned for more to come as we test it out more.

Even though we are still working on the Squad Gang formation, the Gang Screen is still a great trick play in youth football. If the pee wee defense does not shift and react quickly this play is an almost a certain touchdown. If you are having trouble with the Swinging Gate try out the Squad Gang formation and see if your results are better. Let me know in the comments below.

What play would you add to my 5 best youth football trick plays list? Leave me a comment below.


If you run any of these trick youth football plays please let me know your favorite and what works for your team. Did I have one or several trick plays that make your top 5 best youth football trick plays list? Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas

PS: Stay Safe!!

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