LOUISVILLE -- When a kicker drills a winning field goal, few think to thank the light technician who ensured the field was luminescent enough to play on.
Or to thank the grounds crew who made the surface so playable.
OK, so being a lineman isn't that thankless of a job, but it takes a unique type of personality to be fine with running backs, receivers and quarterbacks receiving all the credit for achievements that you were just as much a part of.
Meet Austin Beswick.
He's Monarch's 6-foot-31/2, 275-pound beast of an offensive tackle. He's one of the Coyotes' finest players (some say the best), yet he hasn't made many headlines as the team rolls into the Class 4A semifinals this week.
He helps plow open the running lanes for backs such as Ethan Marks and Logan Soole, and he's OK with those two and Monarch's additional squadron of backs soaking up the limelight.
"I think after doing this for as long as all of us have on the line, it's kind of an internal compliment," Beswick said. "We put ourselves out there to make sure they get the yards, and it's all a team effort. If we get the victory and they get the credit, it's all good."
Beswick bleeds black and Vegas gold so thoroughly that he is shunning the whole college selection thing until after the postseason. Plenty of Division-II schools are looking, including Colorado Mesa, and coach Phil Bravo still holds out hope that his left tackle will attract some late D-I interest.
For Beswick, it's not even worth talking about right now. Top-seeded Pueblo West will be here this weekend (1 p.m., Saturday, Warrior Stadium), and the Cyclones (12-0) are the only thing standing between the Coyotes and a trip to Sports Authority Field and the Class 4A title game.
"I have been looked at by a few schools, but I'm going to stick to what I said earlier," Beswick said. "I've talked to college coaches, saying, 'Hey, I appreciate your interest, and I really hope you keep that interest. But right now I'm focused on the task at hand, and that's winning the state championship.'"
Beswick moonlights as a hard-throwing relief pitcher in the spring for the Monarch baseball team. The right-hander is serious about his exploits on the diamond, too.
It's tough, though, not to think football when seeing his frame.
"He provides that big, athletic body on the line, and he's a kid who's mobile, who can run," Bravo said. "He's very smart. Classroom smart, football smart. He's a very, very consistent blocker, and he's the stronghold of our line."
Beswick gives up very few sacks, but it wouldn't be fair to overly praise him for that. Monarch (11-1) seldom throws the ball. He makes his living as a run blocker, leading Bravo to believe he might have a future as a center or a guard in college.
For now, the backs are delighted to have him at left tackle.
"It's awesome," said Soole, who rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown in a quarterfinal win at Vista Ridge. "He's a great team player and a great leader. Everyone on the line is doing great, but he really does lead us and push everyone."
Beswick anchors a rock-solid line that includes fellow tackle Josh Hurst, guards Levi Ensign and Henry Oliver and center Logan Shapiro. Tight ends Connor Fitzgerald and Andrew Dorsey also qualify as part of the line in the tightly-bunched, wing system.
Beswick takes immense pride in the line's comprehensive success, even if the unit doesn't receive much credit beyond the walls of the locker room.
"I think we're really tight, to be completely honest," Beswick said. "We're all brothers and we hang out 24/7. A lot of us play other sports together. After school ends, I definitely see our friendships continuing on."
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