Prep football: Dixie's offensive line gets past 3A's top defense
It was more a test of will than just a run play.
Time was running out. On fourth down, Dixie was looking for a chance to keep the clock moving and the ball out of Juan Diego's hands. With a mighty push up front, and a slick run on a snow-covered field by Blake Barney, the game was won.
It was the kind of effort the offensive line had brought all night.
"They're a smaller offensive line, but they're the best in the state by far," Barney said. "They do their job they give it 110 percent on every play."
The Flyers line, through strong unity and technique, paved the way for 195 rushing yards by the Dixie offense. Down near the goal line was when the group shined, freeing up enough space for Barney to squirt through for two scores.
They're small, but they're proud of it. No one is bigger than 220 pounds, and most are a few hairs short of 6 feet tall.
But as Kolton Hunter says: "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
It was understandably tough sledding against Juan Diego, the top defense in Class 3A. The undefeated Soaring Eagle had allowed 14 or more points in only two of their previous games, both against 4A teams.
But the Flyers found a way to be an exception, using speed and communication when they couldn't overwhelm Juan Diego with size. It was a winning formula for a unit that prides itself on its cohesiveness.
"They spend a lot of time together, they hang out, they got each other's back," coach Blaine Monkres said. "Each guy is gonna sell their soul for the guy next to him, and every week they come to play. They just come together as a unit, they think like one person, as a result they were able to get things done."
Now, with a game ahead, the Flyers are one win away from being immortalized with a state championship. However they do, you can bet the offensive line will play a huge role.
And they know they have guys behind them who will make the big plays.
"They work their butts off for us," lineman Jesse Lambert said. "We give 'em a hole, and they're gonna hit it. They're gonna give us their all like we're gonna give them our all."