Offensive linemen may not be the center of attention on Friday nights, but Creekview’s line has become the heart of its offense over the past few years.
Clemson freshman John Williams, Mississippi State sophomore Nick Pendley and Charlotte redshirt junior Jacob Webb were all recent leaders on the Creekview unit.
Guard Sam Hartley, tackle Anthony Dorr and center Braden Dabrowa learned under Pendley and Williams.
“They were great mentors,” Dorr said. “They wanted to see us succeed, and they wanted us to follow in their footsteps.”
Dabrowa said playing with the future Power Five college linemen made him realize what a prototype at the position looks like.
“When you think of a perfect linemen I think of Nick Pendley or John,” Dabrowa said. “They just got after it, and they were nasty and they pancaked every single play.”
Creekview coach Trevor Williams said his team’s success is largely reliant on the performances of Hartley, Dorr and Dabrowa each Friday night.
“We set the tone. We set the pace of how the game is going to go,” Hartley said. “If we’re not doing our job, or if we’re not doing it to the highest of our ability, we can’t function as an offense.”
The linemen are often invisible to fans in the chaos of the trenches, but they are crucial to their team’s ability to move the chains.
“We might not be the one scoring the touchdown or getting our names called on the jumbotron, but we can go home knowing that we did our job and we made that touchdown happen,” Dabrowa said.
The line is often expected to chew clock at the end of games and break the will of an opposing team.
“When it gets late in the game and both sides of the ball are tired, what really makes or breaks a game is just running the football,” Dorr said. “I think a huge part in changing the direction of the game is the front line. If you start whipping that other team up front, it just takes the energy out of them.”
The trio helped lead Creekview’s offense on a game-winning 80-yard drive to beat Etowah last week. The Grizziles scored the game-winning touchdown with 6 seconds left on the clock to pull out the 14-13 come-from-behind victory.
“You can’t come out there and play with all you’ve got if you don’t understand your role,” Dorr said. “That is protecting your quarterback and your running back and making the play possible.”
A big part of Creekview’s season-opening win was the running of Tyler Stevens behind the offensive line. Stevens ran 24 times for 105 yards, and he scored the game-winning touchdown on a pass in the flat in which he was escorted by a wall of blockers.
“We just want to pound that ball all game,” Hartley said.