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Offensive line dedicated to protecting teammates

Ellisha Stokes, Sports Editor

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The Lions were a few inches short of a win against Boyd Friday, but their efforts earlier in the season were enough to take them into playoffs. They play in round 1 at Dragon Stadium this Friday, Nov. 17, against Southlake Carroll at 7:30 p.m.

To make playoffs for the first time since 2009, they had to have a strong offensive line, which running back Matt Gadek calls the “Pancake Platoon.”

Michael Gutierrez
Tight end Cole Teichelman lead blocks for running back Matt Gadek.

“They call us the Pancake Platoon because every play we go out there giving it our all and more often than not the opposing team ends up on the turf with one of us on top of them,” offensive lineman Nick Vassar said. “It makes it easy to go out there and have the desire to compete with the mindset of protecting the two guys that show us as a unit the most love, Matt Gadek and Damon Witmer.”

Matt Gadek first named his offensive line the Pancake Platoon on a local news station for the guys he counts on to protect him.

“It’s a lot to think about protecting the guys, I mean like Damon –you know he can’t get touched. That’s our quarterback, that’s the guy that does the moves,” offensive guard Kyler Coker said. “Him and Gadek are the guys to protect so we just try to keep our opponents on the ground. I mean that’s what we do.”

Michael Gutierrez
Right guard DeOndray Fortman holds off a Plano East defensive player.

The senior players have been working hard to make their last season memorable, including assisting Matt Gadek with the state record of 599 yards.

“As an offensive line we work together so seamlessly because of Coach Gibby and Coach Williams putting it in our heads that we are family and we hang out a lot together,” center Kirubel Taddesse said. “We just look out for each other, and that helps us out on the field.”

The offensive line is focused on playoffs.

“This season we are more focused and we all have a common goal where as last year we weren’t as a whole team,” right guard DeOndray Fortman said. “Now we have bonded more then we have ever in the past and we all know what we had to do on Friday night and that got us into playoffs.”

Kirubel says that the o-line is working its hardest for the rest of the offense to more forward in playoffs.

Michael Gutierrez
The offensive line prepares to block against the Pearce defense.

“It’s a lot of pressure to protect the offense in the beginning,” Kirubel said. “Over the years you kinda get used to it, but then you end up becoming friends with your offensive line so it doesn’t become a thing were I have to. I want to protect Matt and Damon. That’s kinda the whole thing for this offensive line, we all want to protect Damon and Matt because we want them to do the best that they can.”

 

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