By Gary R. Rasberry
As much success as Steve Borger has enjoyed with his playcalling this season as the quarterback for the Coldwater Cavaliers offense, one of the first groups he thanks for his play is the offensive line.
Over the last couple of seasons, the line has had a yearly turnover due to graduation. This season was no different as three juniors and two seniors make up the front wall.
But what they have done up front, at times against much larger teams, has been a big reason for the success the Cavaliers have had this season.
For tackles Josh Pax and Paul Mathewson, center Ryan Hoyng and guards Tylor Muhlenkamp and Adam Schroyer, the season has seen the group be nearly impenetrable this season.
"Our main job is to give Steve time," said Mathewson, who earned first-team All-District honors this season, after Saturday's win over Lemon-Monroe. "He's a great quarterback and we have great receivers. We know he's a great player, we're here to give him time to make the plays." The fact that the team plays out of a shotgun offense almost exclusively makes the job of center difficult, but Hoyng has been exceptional.
Coldwater coach John Reed believes the line has allowed the team a lot more diversity in what it can do.
"The development of the offensive line has allowed us to be the diversified offense that we are," said Reed. "In the past we got to the point where we became so one-dimensional because of the things we couldn't do.
"The development of the offensive line has allowed us to run the ball, and protect the quarterback so he is able to pass for a high percentage."
Borger has not hidden his praise for the guys on the line.
"The offensive line has come a long way all season," said Borger after the team's regional final win against Huron. "I had all the time in the world. The only time I was touched is when I held the ball for too long. They did a great job tonight."
For the line, the goal is to stop the defense.
Saturday night against Lemon-Monroe, the Cavaliers got another solid game.
The Hornets came in hard against Borger, resulting in a couple of sacks, but Borger was able to perform well.
"We just stayed focused and worked all night," said Muhlenkamp. "We didn't get frustrated and gave him as much time as we could."
"They had a three-man front and had a lot of blitzers," said Mathewson. "We really prepared for their types of fronts and blitzes. Our goal was to stay out there and keep focused."