Top of the line
Some other top offensive lineman in the BoCo area:
• Michael DeCamillis, Broomfield, Sr.
• Jarod Fixmer, Longmont, Sr.
• Nate Hackney, Erie, Jr.
• Preston Hall, Mead, Jr.
• Sam Hoswell, Monarch, Sr.
• Jackson Hussey, Boulder, Sr.
• Jack Ranglos, Silver Creek, Jr.
• Connor Smith, Skyline, Sr.
• Sean Wilden, Holy Family, Sr.
Quarterback and offensive skill positions usually get the most attention on a football team, but those players can attribute their success to the guys in the trenches.
No team embodies that more than the Fairview Knights, who boast one of the strongest and most experienced offensive lines in the area.
The players up front open holes for running backs and protect the quarterback in the pocket, allowing him to dissect the defense and move the ball. The stats go to the receivers, backs and quarterbacks, but at Fairview proper respect is given to the guys who do the grunt work.
"The guys working in the trenches get respect from everybody," head coach Tom McCartney said. "When you look at the schedule we play, it is physical in there. There's a great respect and trust, and receivers know there is time to run routes."
Right tackle Ted Chasson was a first-team all-region selection last year and left guard Koby Soden was honorable mention, so the line does get its due. They've been jelling for years with the likes of center Colt Futter, right guard Paul Scheufele and Eric Bendele at left tackle.
"We're a really close unit," Soden said. "We've been playing together for most of three years. We've gotten really comfortable on the field, and off the field we hang out a lot."
The Knights are going to rely on the experience and leadership of the offensive line this season. The past two years, as they grew into seniors, they protected senior quarterbacks - and did it well. In 2015 Thomas Creese passed for 3,158 yards and 23 touchdowns. Last season Jake Williemsen threw for 2,325 yards and 32 touchdowns.
Creese is now at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Willemsen is at Occidental. Before them there was Johnny Feauto, who led the Knights to the Class 5A quarterfinals and finished the 2014 season with 3,953 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Those are stats that the linemen can take pride in, whether it's this group of guys or their predecessors.
"We've done pretty well offensively over the years they've been starting," McCartney said.
A big reason for the line's success is due to assistant coach Paul Litwinetz, who McCartney says makes a difference.
"He's talented at coaching the O-line," McCartney said.
The Knights were 8-3 last year and finished with a first-round playoff loss to Regis Jesuit. This year they will have a young quarterback playing behind the experienced line - either sophomore Aidan Atkinson or junior Nick McCarthy. But there is an experienced running back returning in Mariano Kemp, who doubles as a defensive lineman.
The veterans will certainly help either quarterback get comfortable, and reach higher goals this season.
"The goal is to make it to the playoffs and make a run to state," Soden said. "I'm excited about the team we have."
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