All guts, no glory: Glenwood offensive line makes the plays
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
MONUMENT, Colorado – They toil in the shadows while others bask in the glory, and they’re happy to do it.
While others rack up yardage and score touchdowns, they’re bumping and banging to clear the way. They’ll do anything for a football team that constantly trumpets this mantra: “We play for each other.”
They’re offensive linemen, and Glenwood Springs’ starting five up front tee their teammates up for success more often than not. No group better exemplifies the selfless approach to football the 11-1 Demons have adopted.
“They carry the team,” senior quarterback Luke Jacob said. “They allow us to do what we do. They don’t get much glory from it, but they fight all the time just to make big plays.”
Big plays came in droves for Glenwood in Saturday’s 42-21 win over Lewis-Palmer in the 3A state quarterfinals. The Demons rushed for 309 yards and five TDs, amassing those gaudy numbers on a 6.18 yards-per-carry average.
Jacob finished with 162 yards, including a 44-yard TD scamper in the fourth quarter. Senior running back Drew Halsch wound up with 110 yards and three scores.
“All the power to the offensive line,” Halsch lauded. “They were great all day.”
That’s how they’ve performed all season, regularly creating gaping holes for Jacob and Halsch to dart through. Both have rushed for well over 1,000 yards in 2010.
What makes the combination of left tackle Blaze Barham, left guard Brian Ochoa, center Michael Brunk, right guard Mike Moreno and right tackle Nick Ciani work so well as one?
“We feed off each other,” said Moreno, a senior. “It’s like a relationship almost. Every time I’m out on the field with like Blaze, Nick or anybody, they’ve got my back.”
“The offensive line is a big family,” added Barham, also a senior. “We do a lot of stuff together. Whenever we have team dinners, it’s like all the offensive line together. We’ve all got the same rooms together. It’s really just bonding.”
Bonding sessions also sometimes include video games and dining out.
“We’ll go to each other’s houses and play Xbox,” Ochoa, a junior, shared, “or we’ll go to Village Inn or McDonald’s.”
The bonding is clearly working. Though they’re not the biggest front around, Glenwood’s offensive line is more than getting by.
“Compared to other teams, we’re tiny,” a grinning Moreno said. “We’ve got Nick, who’s barely over 200 pounds. Blaze, our left tackle, he’s like 225. Ochoa and I, we’re both under 6 foot and weigh barely 200 pounds. … Our center, Michael Brunk, he’s maybe 160 pounds. He’s a little fighter, too.”
Behind all the fighting Brunk and his line mates have done, the Demons are on the verge of something big. Second-seeded Glenwood will host No. 6 Canon City (9-3) in Saturday’s state semifinal with a second trip to the 3A state title game in three years on the line.
Their glory doesn’t come in the form of statistics, but Barham, Ochoa, Brunk, Moreno and Ciani don’t seem to mind. They’re happy to contribute. They’re happy to play for their teammates.
“We feed off of each other,” Moreno said. “The more fun we have out there, the better we play. We get it from the backfield. We’ve got Drew Halsch back there and nothing stops him. You see him run and you give it more. We hit the ground and we get back up. We see Luke out there. No quarterbacks take hits like Luke.”
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