NOW MOSTLY HEALTHY: Lions Take Pride In Line
November 11, 2009
PREPARATION BECOMES PATCHWORK
GRAVETTE Senior Dakota Lacy knows the Gravette offensive line isn’t the biggest or the strongest.
And he tells the Lions that shouldn’t matter for one of the state’s best units.
“Every game I remind them westarted out ranked the No. 1 line in the 4A and we’ve got to go out there and play like it,” said Lacy, the lone senior on the unit. “We’ve got something to live up to.”
Picked as the top line in Class 4A by Hooten’s Arkansas Football Magazine at the start of the season, the Lions have overcome a lack of size, injuries and the death of teammate Casey Russell.
The Lions’ line is mostly healthy heading into Friday’s home playoffgame against Valley View, but it’s been a patchwork job to get there as several of the linemen have had to play multiple positions this season.
“It makes it tough to get the continuity that you want in an offensive line, that you need,” Lions coach Bill Harrelson said. “They’ve done a good job adjusting to it.”
Lacy (5-foot-11, 257 pounds) and juniors T.J. Chevallier (6-1, 218) and Tyler Glenn (5-9, 221) have the most experience. Junior ShannonBuckner (5-10, 281) has come on strong this season and sophomores Tim McPherson (6-0, 213), Jeremey McGarrah and Brennon Webb (5-11, 259) have quickly found theirway into the rotation.
O◊ensive line coach Jake Knoedl said the Lions have learned the responsibilities for each position along the line by practicingtogether and he’s comfortable moving them around.
“We pretty much know whateverybody does,” Chevallier said. “If somebody doesn’t know what they’re doing, we can help out. We can pretty much play where ever we need to.”
Lacy said he and his teammates use their quickness and agility to get off the ball faster than a bigger line would. “We don’t have a lot of big guys, but we make up for it with e◊ort and people working hard,” Lacy said.
They also draw motivation from Russell, a junior teammate who died twodays before Gravette’s homecoming game against Pea Ridge in Week 4.
“One thing we’ve talked about is we didn’t want justthat one game to be for him,” Lacy said. “We wanted the whole season to be about him. Just one game wasn’t enough for him. We call on him for a lot of motivation in times when we need it.”
The team - led by the offensive line - continues to honor the memory of Russell by carrying his helmet into the stadium for each game. The linemen also roped o◊Russell’s parking space near the high school and stadium, preserving the spot where a member of the line parked his big truck every day.
Sports, Pages 7 on 11/11/2009