Straughn’s O-line, the Tigers’ backbone

Published 5:43 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

Straughn's offensive line gets set during the T.R. Miller game earlier this season. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

They’re the backbone of Straughn’s offense and the driving force of the Tigers’ offense — the quarterback’s defenders.

Straughn’s offensive line will be put to the test tomorrow night in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs on the road at Daleville.

One key the Warhawks will probably center on is getting to SHS senior quarterback Chase Short.

The easiest way to keep that from happening is to “block,” Straughn’s offensive line agreed collectively.

“It’s simple,” SHS left guard Dalton Watson said. “We’ve got to block them.”

Right guard Conner Livings added: “We’ve got to try to be perfect on every play.”

Daleville enters the game undefeated at 10-0. What the offensive line has seen on film is simple, too.

“They play hard,” SHS center Zack Riley said. “(Daleville defender Demetrie Williams) will get at it.”

Brock Watson said DHS’ defensive line is different than what the Tigers have faced already.

“They throw off the ball and stay high a lot,” Watson said. “They come off and pop straight up.”

As a group, the offensive line has helped Straughn to a 6-3 record this season, giving holes for Short and running backs Daryl George, Devin Scott and Nigel Byrd to run through.

When asked what the key to their success has been this season, Riley said playing as a unit is at the forefront.

“We’ve just got to stick together as a group,” he said. “When one person gets down, don’t just sit there and yell at them. Pick them up and say hey, let’s get together and work together and play hard.”

Every Thursday, the group goes out to eat dinner with offensive line coach Kenneth Skipper.

Their favorite haunt is Rancho Grande by Winn-Dixie.

It’s important to have those dinners, much like it is to get repetitions during practice or in the game, the line said.

“When you do it so many times, you get used to it,” SHS left tackle Brady Page said. “That way you know what to do in certain situations.”

The line said it wants to accomplish a win this week, and will need to play a complete game to beat the Warhawks.

Kick off in Daleville is at 7 p.m. tomorrow.