Linemen from Weatherford and Brock’s football programs represented Parker County at Hardin-Simmons University’s sixth annual State LineMAN Challenge in Abilene over the weekend.
In all, 38 teams (three total divisions) from across Texas qualified for state through regional competitions.
Weatherford competed in Division I with Abilene Cooper, Abilene High, Abilene Wylie, Arlington, Azle (Green), Denison, Hendrickson, LD Bell, Lockhart, Medina Valley and O’Connor Gold.
Brock competed in Division III with Anson, Clyde, Dublin, Eustace, Hamlin, Hawley, Jarrell, Jim Ned, Junction, Merkel, Pilot Point and San Saba.
Both Weatherford Head Football Coach Billy Mathis and Brock Head Football Coach Chad Worrell commended the competition for giving linemen a chance to showcase their talents and steal the spotlight.
“The linemen rarely ever get any publicity, but as football coaches, we know those guys are just as important as your quarterback or anything else,” Mathis said.
“It was exciting for us as a program.”
Worrell echoed Mathis’ comments.
“The skill kids have a lot of things they can go do during the summer, 7-on-7 being one of them and camps,” Worrell said.
“And the linemen don’t have a whole lot of things. We started doing this last year and the kids really loved competing in the LineMAN Challenge.”
Similar to the team’s successful playoff push a season ago, Weatherford’s inclusion in the recent state-wide linemen competition goes to show how far the players have come in such a short time, Mathis said.
“It was great for our guys with all the work they’ve been doing,” Mathis said.
“We weren’t the biggest group of offensive linemen out there, but going and qualifying and making the state competition was great for us, just for the excitement of those guys.
“Our first year we didn’t qualify. But it shows just how much our strength and agility and overall buy in of the kids has grown over these past [few] years.”
Brock, which won last year’s Division III State LineMAN Challenge, repeated last weekend with 86 points, beating out second-place Clyde by a 19-point margin (67 points).
Worrell said the Eagles’ linemen do well blending a strong work ethic with a variety of natural skill sets, something that was reflected in the team’s win in Abilene.
“Our kids want to compete if there’s an opportunity there to compete,” Worrell said.
“It speaks about their commitment. They’ve been working all summer, even in the spring with that goal in mind of doing well at the LineMAN Challenge.
“We’ve got a good mix of kids who are strong and do well in the power stuff, but also who can run and move well, and that plays well into that competition.”
Competitors at this year’s State LineMAN Challenge worked through 11 events, including a forward tire throw, bench press, sled relay, obstacle course and tug-of-war to name a few.
Arlington High won the Division I competition with 70 points (Medina Valley finished second with 52 points).
Argyle came out on top in Division II with 72 points (Gonzales finished second with 57 points).