By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
A football team’s offensive line are responsible for many things.
They are the unsung heroes.
The warriors looking to get dirty, grinding their way through bruising work.
Then they line up and do it again.
Over and over.
They drift out of memory because they are not included in the record books. That is where the skill positions live.
As the ultimate team players, it is always team first with offensive linemen.
The winners of football games.
The quiet workers absent from the spotlight.
Today is their day, though.
The one day they get all of the spotlight.
This feature is dedicated solely to the offensive linemen in the trenches, violently putting their bodies in harm’s way for the chance that their team can gain the extra yard that will make the difference between a win and a loss.
It takes a special player to do it.
Players like those listed below, which I proudly present as the Class of 2023 for my 10th annual All-Trench Team.
6-foot-1, 275 pounds
Coach Bob Mihalik: “Rocco is the strongest player in Aurora football history, with a bench, squat and clean total of over 1,300 pounds. He is our only returning starting lineman this season, and he has provided great leadership. Rocco is blocking at a 94 percent success rate and rarely leaves the field. He receives constant double teams on defense, but is still averaging three tackles per game. He has multiple Division-II offers to play next fall.”
6-foot-3, 250 pounds
Coach Jack D’Amato: “Gavin is the leader of the offensive line. As a three-year starter, he has developed into a good lineman for us. He holds other guys accountable and looks for areas for the line, as a whole, to improve.”
6-foot-4, 270 pounds
Coach Matt Furino: “I think he is one of the best offensive lineman I’ve coached in quite a while.”
6-foot-3, 280 pounds
Coach Mike Moser: “Jon works very hard and has anchored our offensive line for the past two seasons. He is a very well-balanced lineman, excellent in both the run and passing game. Jon was also voted a team captain by his teammates this year.”
6-foot-2, 210 pounds
Coach Kardell Jackson: “Jerome has worked extremely hard all off-season and has grown as a leader in our locker room. He has been recognized as a team captain by his teammates.”
5-foot-10, 145 pounds
Coach Matt Adorni: “Travis epitomizes what it means to be a Mogadore offensive lineman. He is undersized, quick and smart. He is a tough kid, with a wrestling background. Travis is very smart and uses that to his advantage.”
6-foot, 235 pounds
Coach Joe Callihan: “Dean is a four-year starter on the offensive line, and he provides great leadership and is one of the hardest workers on the team.”
6-foot-2, 280 pounds
Coach Chris Knopick: “Tony has been a force in the trenches for us these past four years. As a two-time All-Ohio player, he is a big reason our run game continues to be dominant. He is a leader for our program both on the field and in the weight room.”
6-foot-1, 205 pounds
Coach Patrick Youel: “Kyle has been a three-year starter for us. He has been a staple on our line and the implementation of our single-wing offense over that time. He has been our center, quick guard and this year he is our strong guard. He is the biggest offensive line, but he is fearless and just plays hard on every snap in all three phases of the game. His effort is never in question, and he gives all of himself to our team. He never misses a football function and has bought into our OTOV philosophy and culture unquestionably. He is a heck of a football player, but even more so, an incredible young man and a true leader in our program.”
6-foot-3, 280 pounds
Coach Pete Thompson: “Arthur’s size, power and athleticism set him apart from the average high-school lineman. He is just scratching the surface of the player he can become, which if he stays healthy and continues to work, is going to be pretty special to witness. He is off to a dominating start so far this season and has clearly stood out as our best lineman on both sides of the ball. On top of all that, his work ethic and positive demeanor are attributes he demonstrates on a daily basis within our program and has become an example of others to follow.”
5-foot-9, 175 pounds
Coach Mike Devies: “Brady plays with a relentless motor. He is extremely undersized for a lineman, but he has a drive that a lot of people are not blessed with. He is coachable and just a great human being. Brady has started to fall in love with the weight room, so we are very excited to see what his football future has in store for him.”
5-foot-10, 220 pounds
Coach Jake Eye: “Anthony is a four-year starter for us. He is our leader up front on both sides of the ball, with his size, strength and athleticism, we utilize him out in space, pulling him both frontside and backside. He works hard in the weight room and in the classroom and is a high character young man, who is always guiding our younger players. Last season, he was an All-League and an All-Ohio selection. He suffered an ankle injury in our first scrimmage of the year and was finally healthy in Week 4 to give us a boost — and it showed in film with several pancake blocks.”