Categories
Sports

The line does it all

Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis battled on a sea of mud on Friday night, while the rain poured down, the local curse from Tropical Storm Ernesto- wonderful for flowers and such. but not much good for high school football.
Through it all however, one thing stood out on the football field at Gray Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Golden Eagles put together a flash of opportunity to score 16 points in one minute and 53 seconds.
Tyrone both before and after this lightning display when all the points were scored in the Eagles 16-0 triumph over the Blue Devils, employed an offense that moved the ball up and down the field. They moved the ball without senior co-captains Tyler Gillmen, the leading returning rusher for Tyrone and All Conference tight end Doug Morrow.
What the Golden Eagles did have was an extraordinary line that took over the ballgame and controlled the football. The best defense a team can use, especially when the Blue Devils had a Josh Kleinfelter, who has rushed for over 3,600 yards in his sophomore and juniors season. If Tyrone maintained control of the pigskin, then Kleinfelter and company can’t score.
The offensive line of Donnie Conrad, Tyler Hoover, James Updike, Josh Wright Nick Wilson, Aaron Delay and Andy Ashcroft simply refused to allow their team to give in.
“It all started from this week,” said Updike, who along with Gillmen and Morrow and Tyler Hoover are the Eagles captains. “On Wednesday when we found out that Gillmen wasn’t going to play. Coach Franco always lectures us, ‘you have to overcome adversity’. Everybody was hanging their heads, You can’t have that. You have to pick yourself back up. The two captains that are left, Me and Hoover, we stepped it up and went over the blocking schemes and found out who we would have to block and we went out and went 100 percent-thats the way we play Tyrone football.”
Hoover, the 6-4, 325 pound returning All-State pick was the catalyst, a majority of the plays going over his side of the line.
“We knew coming in that we didn’t have to do very much rebuilding on the left side of our line,” said Hoover. “We knew that Andy Ashcroft and Aaron Delay could do the job better than anyone else. Plus we did sleds (pushing a seven-man blocking sled) from the first day we put pads on. I don’t think anybody does better than we do. That pays off.”
“We just worked hard all week, we did sleds at the end of practice to help our conditioning,” explained Andy Ashcroft. “We all pulled together as a group tonight, that really helped-just like a family.
“In the third and fourth quarter, we thought about all the work we had put in,” said Donnie Conrad, who moved from guard to tight end when Morrow broke his collarbone in the Chestnut Ridge scrimmage, and caught a touchdown pass from Tyrone QB Tyler Golden. “We thought about all the conditioning, the 7-7-10, the seven-man sleds and our linemen came together. We knew we had to work hard, to get the job done, and to keep running the clock out.”
The running backs and quarterbacks, the wide receivers and defensive backs and safeties get all the highlight reels, all the publicity, while the only time a offensive linemen gets noticed, is when he committs a penalty.
Yet how many of the other offesnive starts would get past the line of scrimmage, if not for the linemen. Toiling in obscurity, they get the worst of everything, and even more so on a night like Friday evening in the rail at Gray-Vets Memorial Field. These fine young men opened the holes and allowed their school to open the season with a win over their backyard rivals.
Well done guys.