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Offensive linemen thriving at Garfield

August 13, 2012
Underthelights

By MATT WAGNER

Tribune Chronicle correspondent

Although offensive linemen rarely get the attention like the skill players, that doesn't matter to the Garfield G-Men offensive front.

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These players get satisfaction from leading out a running back and taking the air out of opposing players' lungs.

"It feels great when I get a lead block in front of my running back and he gets a touchdown," Trevor Chambers said. "Whenever you pancake someone and you hear their breath go out of their lungs, it feels great."

This scenario could occur a lot this season for the 2012 Garfield G-Men, as these offensive linemen are not afraid to hit opposing players.

"We're a bunch of aggressive kids," tackle Ryan Mullins said. "We like to hit people. We're not soft at all."

Of all the units for the G-Men this season, the offensive line has the most experience coming back and is one of the strongest units going into the season.

The line returns four of five starters- three-year letterman Mullins, center Mike Paolone, right guard Patrick Enoch and tackle Joe Brahler. All four of these players are seniors.

The lone junior takes over the only hole in the starting lineup, as Chambers takes over at left guard, but he is somewhat like a returning starter.

Chambers was supposed to start at right guard last season, but according to his coach Steve Wyllie, an accident while chopping wood forced him to miss all of last season. A missed season won't stop him from picking up where he left off, though.

"It feels fantastic," Chambers said. "I'm going to mess some people up with Ryan (Mullins) and Mike Paolone. It's going to be great."

Chambers and the rest of line need to be on top of its game, as Garfield has a new quarterback staring this year.

Junior Chase Chapman steps up into the role held by Sebastian Nekirk, who graduated last season. His linemen said the junior has matured a lot since making the move to starter.

"All going up, (Chapman)'s been a hothead, but he's really changed himself," Mullins said. "He's a complete leader now. Pays attention, puts in the extra work, he's always at home watching film I'm excited to see what he can do this season."

The line will do its part to make sure Chapman is comfortable in pocket, Mullins said.

He said the line plans on giving Chapman a lot of time in the pocket in order to make good reads down the field. This should help Chapman build up his confidence.

"Yeah, he won't have a problem passing the ball," Chambers said.

These five players also lead an offense that struggled to score points in the fourth quarter.

The G-Men scored a measly 34 points in the final quarter all season long, being shutout in six of 10 games. The linemen said this year's team is better conditioned as a way to change last year's trend.

"We're in better shape than we were last year," Mullins said. "We're a lot more intense. We're not letting any kid slack off- no more just standing around at practice. We're holding everybody accountable for themselves."

Garfield is hoping that the better conditioning could lead to a better season.

The G-Men went 6-4 last season. Despite losing last season's leading passer and leading rusher, this team has the mentality that the G-Men will do better than last season, especially looking to make the playoffs.

"My mindset going into the season is that I want to be 15-0," Mullins said. "It's not a prediction - it's a mindset."

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