Linemen lead the way for Saints football awards
EDWARDS — Linemen are kind of important.
This concept is generally overlooked when it comes to all-league voting. It’s generally about the leading rusher or passer or receiver.
Vail Christian football had all of the above, but it was its linemen who made it all go. Ryan Hethcote and Keaghen Mullin are among five Saints selections for all-league. Hethcote was the center on the offensive line, while Mullin was the right guard. Both played on the defensive line as well.
“One of the best aspects of our team was our physical offensive line,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “It’s nice for them to get recognition. Backs get all the glory when those guys are doing the work in the dirt.”
This season, this point was proved through unfortunate circumstances. The Saints were 7-0 until Hethcote went down with an ACL injury. Vail Christian lost its regular-season finale against West Grand and then to Springfield in the playoffs. (By the by, we wish Hethcote well as he has surgery today.)
While the last two games were a tough way to finish, the Saints did have a very good season.
And, now, the backs
Quarterback Logan Raitt, playing the position for the first time since his freshman year, guided the offense. The senior completed 39 passes for 680 yards with 13 touchdowns. He also ran 95 times for 634 yards and three more scores. He joins Hethcote and Mullin as first-teamers.
Raitt’s favorite target was Alex Davis, also on the first team. Davis caught 25 passes for 517 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 485 yards. Pierson said that the coaching staff designed the offense to maximize the touches he had to exploit his athleticism.
Sophomore Ethan Kuhns is an honorable-mention selection at running back and linebacker. Kuhns ran for 634 yards, tied for the team lead with Raitt, while also leading the team in tackles with 59.
Next up for Vail Christian is the move from 8-man to Class 1A 11-man football.
“It’s two more offensive lineman and an extra back,” Pierson said. “We’re going to have many more opportunities to play kids. The game is different, and then it’s not. Fewer 2-point conversions and more extra points, and closer scoring games. That’s going to be exciting.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.