Linemen are a big deal to Eagle Valley High School head football coach John Ramunno. In fact, he believes the line (on both sides of the ball) determines the outcome of most games.
"If you can re-establish the line of scrimmage in a game, your chances of success greatly improve," he explained. Ramunno is excited about the linemen on the Devils defense and offense this year, and points specifically to his "five pillars of granite" that make up the offensive line.
Tackles Andy Armstrong and Joe Felix, guards Satchel Jones and Joey Sanchez, and center Roberto Cortez must work together as a unit in order for the offense to sustain drives. Tanner Harris, Fifi Montes, and Shawn Messerich will provide depth, making the unit solid and complete. Interior offensive linemen are not eligible to catch forward passes, and are not allowed to have advanced past the line of scrimmage at the time a pass is thrown unless they are in contact with a defensive player. The offensive line has to read the opposing line and take care of specific areas on the field. They have to enjoy contact and love the physicality of it. They must be attentive to details, keep their heads up, and maintain a solid base as they re-establish the line of scrimmage. Executing all of these responsibilities protects the quarterback and provides running lanes for the backs.
Cortez, who sets the huddle at center, says the offensive line must develop a chemistry. "We know what each other is going to do in any given situation, and that helps tremendously," said Cortez, adding that the chemistry among their unit is undeniable. Jones (a captain for the Devils) agreed, explaining that line members hold their ground and that the entire team is working hard. "We won't let each other down when it gets tough. We love each other and we are strong both mentally and physically."
Sanchez said that one of their jobs is to set the tempo and keep up the momentum of the game. "We are looking forward to making that happen and getting positive outcomes from that." He said that the line's brotherhood is tight-knit. "We have each others' backs no matter what and we are all really tight," said Sanchez.
Armstrong emphasizes that communication is crucial among the unit, along with getting the job done. "We know what we need to do and we don't care what it takes to get it done."
The strength and confidence exuding from the offensive line this year has Ramunno optimistic. "Our guys don't care about recognition - they want to protect their QB and provide those pancake blocks that will get us down the field," said Ramunno. "They just want the win."
The Devils will launch their 2011-12 season at Hot Stuff Stadium on Friday, Sept. 2, at 7 p.m. when they face Coal Ridge.