Pulling their weight MC, Warwick linemen place at Roadgrader’s Challenge

By on July 3, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor bmorgan.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Photo by Bruce Morgan
Warwick's linemen dig in during the tug-of-war event at the L-L League Roadgrader's Challenge at Manheim Central on June 16.

Generally, linemen are the ones who don’t get a lot of the glory.

They do their work in the trenches and largely go unnoticed compared to running backs and quarterbacks during the course of a football game.

On Saturday, June 16, however, they took center stage at the third annual L-L League Roadgrader’s Challenge at Manheim Central High School’s Elden Rettew Field.

Thirteen different schools were represented — Cedar Crest, Cocalico, Donegal, ELCO, Elizabethtown, Garden Spot, Hershey, Lampeter-Strasburg, Lancaster Catholic, Manheim Central, Palmyra, Penn Manor and Warwick — as the big fellas battled for top honors in various events such as the bench press, five-man sled drive, obstacle course relay and much more. Overall, there were a total of 24 five-man teams among those schools.

"It was the best year because numbers-wise, we had more people," said event director Dave Hahn, a Manheim Central assistant. "We had a couple more schools involved and the weather was great. The weather’s been great the last three years, but this year, it was a little cooler. Last year, it was a hot summer day."

When the dust settled, Manheim Central Maroon won the team title, followed by Warwick in second place and Manheim Central Gray in third.

"This is fun competition stuff," Hahn said. "How well it’s going to translate to the field, I don’t know. They’re going to block and tackle on the field. They’re not going to pull sleds and pick up a bar and take it here and there. But the competitiveness out of it is what we’re looking for. All the coaches, that’s what they want. Just get out there and compete, and linemen don’t get an opportunity to do that like the skill kids do. So with all the 7-on-7s, we needed to have something for the linemen."

For Warwick coach Bob Locker as well, giving the kids an opportunity to compete against some of their peers was the biggest draw.

"Linemen do an awful lot of work without having much fun, so it’s pretty cool for them to come and compete against other linemen," Locker said. "They’re competitive high school kids. You want to see people you’re going to play against. Let’s face it, we’re standing here in Manheim and we play them (in 2012). It wasn’t lost on our kids, I’m sure, that that’s the Manheim linemen, that’s the Catholic linemen. So it’s a good opportunity for our kids to compete a little bit and have some fun."

Amid the fun, Locker also took away some positive signs from seeing his linemen participate in the various events.

"As a team, we had four out of the five kids rep over 20 in the bench press at 185. That indicates we’ve got pretty good strength," Locker said. "I think we scored points in a couple of the relays, which means even though they’re linemen, we’ve got pretty good feet. We did well in some things that were athletic. We don’t flip tires, so that didn’t pan out very well. And we don’t emphasize dead lifting as much as other schools do. So there’s some events we didn’t score in. But I’m not going to lie. We came here with the intention of placing in the top three. We did, so I thought it was a pretty good day."

In the end, Warwick and Manheim Central accounted for the top three spots in the team standings. If that’s a sign of things to come this fall, then fans will be treated to a donnybrook when those two squads play on Aug. 31.

"We’re playing Warwick again, so that’s fun, and Warwick and Manheim, we’re right at the top, so that’s always good," Hahn said. "That’s a good rivalry and the kids get after it and stuff. That’s what we want. That makes the fall a lot more interesting." More LINEMEN, page B-4

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