The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

July 12, 2014

Bees’ OL poised to lead team in right direction

PLEASANT VALLEY — Getting your team out of a funk can sometimes be a daunting task.

For East Fairmont’s football team, it may seem that overcoming a 3-7 season could be a hard-fought battle. But don’t tell the offensive line that.

“We just want to set a standard,” senior offensive lineman Jacob Brown said. “We just want to be a different program than we’ve been these past few years. We want to get back to when we were a playoff team.”

And for the Bees, that battle could very well start up front with the offensive line.

East Fairmont returns three starters on the offensive line, which will be tasked with keeping senior signal caller Jake Delaney on his feet long enough to complete passes to a speedy receiving corps.

Led by Johnny Reed, the offensive line will be an anchor for the Bees’ offense.

“The way he considers downs, his mindset — he never really has a negative play,” Brown said of his fellow senior lineman. “It can give us motivation to get going earlier and get the engine going.”

Along with Reed, the Bees return Ryan Earle and Andrew Smallwood to the starting lineup, losing a key piece in Jared Harr from last season and leaving two open spots on the offensive line.

Harr played left tackle for East last season, while Smallwood played right tackle, Harr leaving behind valuable lessons for Smallwood and the rest of the hogs, as Brown called them.

“He taught me things like dropping back the right way and some leadership-type things,” Smallwood said. “He told me to make sure you got them all listening.”

As Brown noted, the Bees have depth all along the offensive line, including a strong newcomer in Patrick Hull, who transferred from Fairmont Senior during his junior season and will play for East this year.

“We had a couple of kids who have stepped up this year,” Smallwood said, pointing to Hull as the key example.

In addition to guys like Reed and Hull and Smallwood and Brown, East Fairmont boasts a sizable freshman class coming in, giving young minds for the upper classmen to mold.

“(The three-week live period) was good to refresh on mechanics and work with the freshmen and try to establish what we want from them,” Brown noted.

And what they want from the incoming class is to buy into the fact that the Bees are ready to make a playoff run.

For that to happen, Brown said, the offensive line needs to do three things: “Do our job, know our role and execute.”

If the mix of young hogs and old hogs can mesh together and form a deep, well-oiled machine, Smallwood believes that the confidence will surround the rest of the players on the team.

“It can make us pretty confident,” Smallwood said. “We’ve got a lot of kids this year who are a lot stronger. I think we’ll be able to hold our own.”

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

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