The unsung heroes of football

The vital role of linemen in team success
Man of many talents. Junior Mark Harrington plays as a middle line backer, wide receiver, and offensive lineman. Harrington has a record of 59 solo tackles.
Man of many talents. Junior Mark Harrington plays as a middle line backer, wide receiver, and offensive lineman. Harrington has a record of 59 solo tackles.
Haley Tanzi

In the world of sports, the spotlight often shines on the quarterbacks, nimble wide receivers or agile running backs. However, behind every successful play, there lies a group of unsung heroes who rarely receive the recognition they deserve – the linemen. These athletes play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth execution of plays, providing the foundation upon which victories are built.

“The offensive linemen are the most important thing on the football field. They protected me when I would go back and throw a pass and they did a great job all year,” senior quarterback Brennen Friewald said. “Without the linemen, I wouldn’t have been able to succeed as much as I did.” 

On the offensive side of the ball, linemen are responsible for creating a protective pocket around the quarterback, allowing them the time and space to make accurate throws. Their strength and technique enable them to fend off opposing defenders, preventing sacks and ensuring the quarterback’s safety. Additionally, linemen open up running lanes for the team’s ball carriers, using their strength and agility to clear a path through the opposition’s defensive line, creating opportunities for big gains.

The stress and pressure that come with the role are undeniable, but for those who embrace the challenge, it can also be an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience.

It’s fun. You get to play for your city and you get to represent that you get to play the people you hang out with for seven months out of the year, including summer so it is being able to play with your friends. I think that’s pretty cool.

— Mark Harrington

“My favorite memory is when we went against Allderdice. Calvin Troutman and I, whenever we would call our combo. Like the other dude would just go into fear because we put him on his butt so many times, and we drove them out of the back of the endzone a few times. We just destroyed,” Boose said. 

“I would say [the hardest aspect of being a lineman] is when you go against someone that’s bigger and stronger than you because at the end of the day you still have the same goal where you have to not get tackled, but it’s a bigger challenge than someone that’s blockable,” junior Mark Harrington said. “You have to be mentally ready because every snap, you’re going to hit and so you make sure you’re the one hitting and not being hit.” 

Despite their importance, linemen often go unnoticed by casual fans. Their contributions are not always reflected in the stat sheets, as their impact is often measured in intangibles such as creating space, providing protection and disrupting the opposing team’s plans. However, coaches, teammates and true sports enthusiasts understand the vital role linemen play in the success of a team.

“I think in the last Altoona Mirror article when Bron [Mosley] had a good game, he said I wouldn’t have done anything. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the offensive line. So those kids don’t always get a lot of publicity, so they would be definitely deserving of that,” coach and assistant principal Vince Nedimyer said. 

The importance of a lineman relies happens in the background as well. The training behind the games and grueling hours on the field outside of game settings. 

“Our philosophy is if we can run the football, we can be pretty good. We have experience up there and that is really the biggest part for the offense. For the type of offense we run, we need kids that are big and strong up front, and they definitely put time in the weight room. That’s what we have right now,” Nedimyer said.

In the world of football, communication plays a pivotal role in determining the success or failure of a team. Whether it’s on the field during a match or off the field during training sessions, effective communication is crucial for players to understand each other’s movements, strategies and intentions. The importance of communication in football cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts the team’s coordination, cohesion and overall performance.

“Communication is key because for our linemen, our heads are always constantly down. So pre-snap, we’re always looking at the defensive line. So who needs to be blocked, who’s going to be blitzing and stuff like that,” senior William Himmelwrite said. 

“I have really good communication, so we know what each other is thinking the entire time. We know if we need help with anything, and we would do pretty good together,” senior Evan Boose said. “You have to work as one; you can’t be out there for yourself. You have to be out there for everybody. And you need to communicate who’s got who and who’s helping you or else it won’t work.”

Linemen are the unsung heroes of sports, sacrificing their bodies and exerting effort to ensure the success of their team. Their dedication, strength and technique are the backbone of every team’s victory. 


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    Freddy/ Haiden FNov 29, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    see and no one really understands us because they think we dont do anything