While skill players such as quarterbacks, halfbacks and wide receivers grabed headlines with their spectacular feats of athleticism and crowd-pleasing plays, it’s often their offensive linemen who quietly go about their duty of opening holes for runningbacks to scramble through and giving quarterbacks time to find their target wideouts for key strikes — often with little to no thanks or adulation.
At Dora, however, the Bulldog offensive linemen are celebrated and credited among teammates, coaches and fans for their ability to take command in the trenches — and for good reason.
Behind the line’s effective blocking, the Bulldogs are averaging 463 yards a game and 41 points a contest, with 378 yards of the output coming from the program’s rushing attack.
The line, composed of seniors Jarrett Eddy, Zac Roberts, Cameron Ghotar, Mark Davenport and sophomore Tristan Allred, alongside senior tight ends Justin Bussey and Deangelo Pendleton, have been a catalyst for No. 7 Dora’s (10-1, 7-0) region championship-winning season and its second round playoff appearance at Horace Roberts Field on Friday night against the Tallassee Tigers (9-2, 6-1) — and whose execution in key moments throughout the year has allowed the team to persevere in challenging situations, as well as help runningbacks Kai Thomas and DeMarcus Kirk roll up over 1,000 rushing yards each, with quarterback Caleb May close to reach the same mark with 940 yards.
“We all have jobs to do and each one of us want to do our very best,” Eddy said.
“We’ve come a long way as a line and it means a lot for us to be able to help the team achieve some of the accomplishments we have this year. We all feel very good about it.”
“Our runningbacks come into every game ready to make big plays and they look to us to play hard-nosed football,” Roberts said “When they make a first down or take the ball into the endzone, we’re all right there along with them and we’re just as proud to be a part of it.”
The group, many of whom have played together since taking the field as toy bowl players, credit effective communication and strong relationships with each other as the foundation to their success.
“Lining up and fulfilling our roles on the front is natural at this point for all of us, as we’ve been doing it together for so long. We know what’s expected of us and we go out to take care of business,” Eddy said.
“There’s times during a game where we’re actually having conversations with each other because of the length of time we’ve been around each other and playing the game — which has confused some defenses we’ve been up against. That’s how close-knit we are and how much fun we have.”
Dora coach Johnny Wright, who has commended his line’s play throughout the season, said he has been extremely impressed by the group’s ability to take on the challenges that his team encounters.
“They are a tremendous group of young men — each one of them are very coachable and our line coach, George Banks, has done an incredible job of unlocking their potential,” Wright said.
“When we’ve needed yards, they have been able to get them for us. They provide very good leadership for us and each one of our runningbacks will tell you that we couldn’t do the job we have this year without them.
They deserve a lot of credit.”