October 8, 2013

Indians resurgence linked to O-line prowess


Most football coaches, at any level, has one basic philosophy — in order to succeed on the playing field, you have to be able to run the football.
That was true for the Green Bay Packers of Vince Lombardi and the Pittsburgh Steelers of Chuck Noll, among others.
Oskaloosa’s recent success on the gridiron has a direct correlation to how well it runs the football.
In two of the past three years, the Indians have rushed for nearly 6,000 yards and 77 touchdowns while making the Class 3A playoffs with records of 8-3 and 7-3 in those two seasons.
Last season, they only ran the ball for 1,687 yards and just scored 19 touchdowns in compiling a 2-7 record.
So far this season, it appears like Oskaloosa, currently 4-2, may be headed to a successful campaign with 2,048 yards and 30 TDs in the first five games of the season.
Much of that success goes to assistant coach Nick Reed’s offensive line, which has opened up big holes for the Indian running backs.
Occupying the offensive line spots are Philip Ringgenberg, Hunter Simmons, Morgan Reed, Zayne McKay, Ethan Huyser, Brandon Crile, Brett Kindley, Jeff Campbell, Joe VerSteegh, Jon Burke, Cody Tuttle, Saif Grafke, Cole Bossard, Mason Shrader, Andy Ruiz, Trevor Mabee, Brandon DenHartog, Dylan Tuttle, Stephen Shannon, Matt Presley and Michael Hendrickson.
Reed expected the offensive line to be improved coming into the season.
“These young men have been working extremely hard since the final snap of last season,” he said. “As strength and conditioning coach, I have the honor of putting in a lot of hours with our athletes all year long and these offensive linemen definitely made their offseason count. The linemen on both sides of the ball started doing extra conditioning together after their normal workouts to prepare for this season.
“I know this will come as a shocker, but most of us linemen don’t enjoy extra running. That should tell you how driven, focused, and excited these men were to put on the pads this fall.”

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