Working in the trenches

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Working in the trenches

Joe Sullivan, Sports Writer

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The H-F football team has qualified for the playoffs for the tenth consecutive season with a record of  6-1 prior to Friday’s game against Lincoln-Way Central. This breaks the previous record of nine straight playoff appearances from 1986 to 1994.

This team has a lot of weapons on both sides of the ball, but one group that has been outstanding for the squad this year is the offensive line. 

When people think of the offensive line, they think of the guys that have to do the dirty work, and boy, does this group do it well. They are filled with talent, with Oregon commit Marcus Harper and Michael Ford with eight Division one offers leading the way.

The offensive line is arguably the most important role on the offensive side of the ball, along with the quarterback. Senior quarterback and three year varsity starter, Dominick Jones, has had another terrific season so far. 

With over 4,000 career yards and 46 touchdowns, Jones has gotten a lot of help from the O-line. “This year’s O-line is the best O-line that I’ve been behind. The thing that I think sets them apart is the experience,” said Jones.

Along with those two D1 offensive linemen is Delaware State commit Denzel Bryant. Bryant was named Wintrust Athlete of the Week earlier this year. This group is also joined by senior Steve McMullan and junior Brian Smith. 

As a senior captain for the offensive line, Marcus Harper is a veteran full of experience on the line of scrimmage.

“We’ve heard all year that we have the best O-line in the state of Illinois. We definitely hold ourselves to that standard in practice every single day because we know teams are planning to stop us up front first,” Harper said. “I’ve been a part of several O-lines at HF, but this group is just different from our chemistry and what we bring to the table. We’re just special!”

Not only are the guys helping the Viking offense average 32 points per game on the field, but they also have a close bond off the field. 

“This O-line is special not just from what we can do on the field, but also how close we are off the field. The offensive line are literally brothers,” Ford said. “We are very close to each other, we have great chemistry on and off the field, and we love to be around each other all the time outside of football.” 

That can be said by everyone in the group. It isn’t just business all the time. These guys like to mix in a little fun on and off the field.

“For the most part, if you see one of us, you’ll find another one of us. We try to hang out after school because we’re even funnier outside of football,” Harper said.

With only one game left in the regular season and the postseason starting next week, the Vikings are looking stay hot going into the playoffs. “We need to focus on the game at hand and then worry about the next few weeks opponent when we get to them,” said Jones.

But there has been one main goal that has been on the team’s mind for the past 10 years. 

“We all want to win state. That goal has been on all of our minds since we walked off the field last year,” Harper said.