The offensive line of a football team is the trench, the division between two rows of soldiers teeming with adrenaline. In a football game, it’s where the battle is fought. Although it is an extremely important part of the team, it often goes unrecognized by the average eye.
For the Eagles, the line has an enormous responsibility in setting up plays for the team. If the line doesn’t push, agile running back senior Victor Galvez cannot weave between the defense. If the linemen don’t block, quarterback junior Lambie Lanman will be sacked in a heartbeat. And if something goes wrong, the O-line often takes the blame.
“If something doesn’t go right, like say it could happen to Victor, we usually get blamed for it,” lineman senior Daniel Morris said. “We’re the easiest targets [for phrases such as] ‘The line wasn’t blocking, the line wasn’t driving, the pocket wasn’t built ’—the finger’s usually pointed at us.”
Oftentimes the average fan doesn’t see what’s behind the successful plays, what work is put into setting a strong foundation for a big running gain. The ones making the play are glorified—after all, they’re the ones that score the touchdowns. But varsity coach Rudy Alcala sees the deeper roots of the team’s success.
“As a staff, we’re letting them know that we value our line,” Alcala said. “And we’ve always put high value on our lineman, because we know we can’t do nothing without them.”
During practices or after the game, Alcala shows his appreciation for the linemen.
“Our coach realizes how important we are,” Daniel said. “He’ll just be like, ‘I know the fans don’t really look at you like that, but I know the game and I’ve played line, and I’m really proud of you guys and enjoy what you do for [the team]. ’”
Alcala also stresses the importance of unity among the team and the line. Each player works together so that winning—and losing—are shared.
“11 guys on the field, one heartbeat,” senior David Davis said.
Fame isn’t important to the linemen—it’s winning. David would rather win with the whole team instead of getting singled out for an exceptional play.
“I feel better if Victor runs in the ball and scores if I make that block for him,” David said.
The line is so important to the team that Alcala even said that if the team was to attempt to make a late-season run, it would be because the line stays healthy and injury-free. A missing lineman would completely alter the team’s dynamic. There are few guys with the experience and seasoning of the seniors.
“If one of those guys goes down or gets hurt, it just changes what we can do immediately,” Alcala said. “It would in effect change how we could pass because the protection would be gone, and how we could run because our blocking down field would change. It’s very critical to be able to move the ball.”
Several offensive linemen also switch to defense during the game, so training is key for their endurance.
“We don’t have a lot of numbers, and we don’t have a lot of subs, so we’re focusing a lot on conditioning and getting in shape, because we’re going to be in for back-to- back plays series after series,” Daniel said. “We’re with a group of guys that we worked with for a long time, so the chemistry is in our favor.”
As for the upcoming years, the departing senior linemen are focusing on passing down what they’ve learned over the years to the younger linemen, while keeping CCS in mind.
“All the linemen are pretty new and young, so David and I are trying to push them as much as we can so we can get to CCS,” lineman senior Paul Hernandez said.