Holding the line: Superlarks’ offensive line provides a big push up front
Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2014
GRAND MEADOW — The Grand Meadow football team has always been able to two things well — run the ball and win games.
The Superlarks have been able to do that because of a lot of hard work up front and that was never more apparent than this last Friday when Grand Meadow senior Landon Jacobson became the school’s all-time TD leader with 76 career TDs in a big win over Randolph. Jacobson has had a lot of those TDs behind the blocks of long-time senior starters Wyatt Richardson and Jordan Miland, and many other players have stepped up on the GM line this year as well.
“We feel 100 percent a part of [the touchdown record] and Landon gives us a lot of credit for what we do,” Miland said. “We appreciate it and we appreciate him for running hard.”
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Cody Ojulu, a tight end, is the other senior on the line and GM has also used Connor Hartson, Trevor Sloan, Trent Tangen and Blake Benson as front line blockers this year.
GM head coach Gary Sloan said the longer he has coached football, the more value he has in guys that do the grunt work on the front line on every Friday night.
“The longer I coach football, the more I appreciate good line play,” Sloan said. “It doesn’t matter who you have as a back, if you don’t have good play at the line of scrimmage, you’re not going to be successful.”
The last two seasons, the Superlarks had a versatile offense with quarterback Trenton Bleifus and that took them to a second place finish in state in 2012 and it led them to a state championship in 2013. This year, the Larks have not passed the ball as much as they’ve relied on a power rushing attack.
Richardson said the team still takes the same attitude into every game.
“I don’t think anything’s really changed that much, we’re still playing Grand Meadow football. We want to run it as much as we can and pass when we want to, not when we have to,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready every play to hit somebody. It’s got to be your mindset to go and hit and you’ve got to love some contact.”
Cody Ojulu was featured a little more as a receiving target last season, but he’s learning to embrace the physical battle on the front line. He said Friday night’s are when he gets to unleash and play at full speed after going at a slower pace in practice.
“All week you’re just waiting to hit somebody, because you can’t really hit somebody on the scout team,” Ojulu said. “On Friday is when you get to go out hit.”
Sloan said that he always makes sure the whole team is included on every achievement any player on the team receives.
“We stress all of the time that any kind of award anybody gets is a team award,” Sloan said. “Landon’s going to have his name in the record book at least for awhile, but these guys blocking for him helped him get it. It’s a team game.”
GM knew it would have a target on its back this season and the top-ranked Superlarks have been up to the challenge. GM has won five of its games by lop-sided scores and it has outscored its opponents on average of 52.5-10.3 per contest.
“They want to come after us,” Miland said. “We’re the defending state champs and that’s a big thing. Everybody always wants to come after Grand Meadow hard. It’s just a little bit harder this year.”
GM, which is one win away from clinching a share of the SEC title, will play at Lyle-Pacelli (1-5 overall, 1-5 SEC) in Lyle this Friday at 7 p.m.