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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "Can you explain the unusual formation the Decorah Viking football team uses on extra points?"

Posted: Tue, Dec 10, 2013 4:50 PM

Here's an appropriate question, in light of Friday night's football playoff game between Decorah and Solon at Viking Stadium.  A somewhat recent resident of Decorah has asked, "What is that unusual formation the Decorah Viking football team uses on extra points--and how long have they been using it?"

Mr. Answer Person says: "It's called a "Swinging Gate formation."  The center, holder and kicker line up in their regular positions, but the other players line up to the left of the center. 

The purpose of this formation is to confuse the opposing defense!  Before the ball is snapped, the offensive players return to their normal positions--OR the center makes a quick snap to either the kicker or holder, who runs behind all the blockers on the left, attempting a two-point conversion.  The formation also reduces the defensive rush of the kicker when a one-point conversion is attempted.

The formation has a long and rich formation at Decorah High School.  Former Decorah Viking football coach Dick Wuest tells Mr. A.P. he started using the formation after he heard about it one summer from a football coach from Indiana.  That was in 1976--and the Vikings have been using the formation on extra points ever since.

So when the Vikings line up Friday night after they have scored several touchdowns, remember to silently thank Dick Wuest by loudly shouting "GO VIKINGS!"

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