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  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Bishop Luers' offensive line, which boasts three seniors, has been a source of strength for the Saints. They are 7-0 and have done most of their offensive damage running the football.

Friday, October 05, 2018 1:00 am

High School Football: Week 8

Saints' O-line relishes dirty work

Bishop Dwenger has gotten to 7-0 mostly due to ground game

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

It's not a glamorous job; a physical, painful, down-and-dirty position that tends to get little recognition. But for the Bishop Dwenger Saints who line up on the offensive line, they don't care. Those bulky bodies who stack the line of scrimmage have propelled the Saints to a 7-0 record.

“We love it. We love to run the ball down peoples throats. We love to run for 200, 300 yards a game,” senior offensive linemen Nick Hosier said. “We don't really care about the adulation or any of the attention. If those guys (skill players) are getting all the attention, all the names in the paper, then we know we're doing our job.”

The offensive line had three returning starters this season in seniors Joe Tippmann, Hosier and Alex Kolkman, and two new starters in juniors Joe Henry and Luke Wiginton. Add in senior Vinnie Tippmann in tight end sets and Dwenger coach Jason Garrett likes his chances against nearly anyone.

“All of that provides a good recipe,” Garrett said. “Plus the identity of who we are in Bishop Dwenger football is to run. They know it's an expectation to play physical in the trenches, and they've just done a great job executing and buying into a run-first philosophy.”

In the Saints' toughest game this season, last week during a 15-13 win over Bishop Luers, the game came down to whether or not the Saints could hold the ball for the final five minutes. Having only completed one pass up until that point, the Saints did what they do best and ran the ball. 

“We talked about like if we want to win this game, it's on us,” Hosier said. “It's on the five of us to get that ball moving and to make sure that our team's successful.”

It helps when you have players such as Devon Tippmann – who was out with an injury last week – T.J. Tippmann, T.J. McGarry and Hayden Ellinger in the backfield to gracefully slip through the holes the line creates.

“We can guarantee those guys two to three yards, but the extra three to four yards that they're going to get is on them to break tackles, make guys miss,” Hosier said. “It's really inspiring for us to watch them run hard just gets us in the gear to block even harder.”

The passing game has yet to truly take form for the Saints, although sophomore quarterback Brenden Lytle has shown his arm strength during the absence of Patrick O'Keefe. But they haven't needed it with Devon Tippmann consistently being the Saints' top runner with 359 yards and four touchdowns.

“When you're able to have a good solid running game, it allows you to do a lot of different things,” Garrett said. “Our passing game is going to come around, as we go forward you never know what you're going to get with the weather, so always being able to run the ball when conditions may not favor the passing game certainly gives you a lot of confidence going into games.”

In what seems to be a battle every year with the teams always at the top of the SAC rankings, Snider (5-2) visits Zollner Stadium today.

“It's definitely going to be a battle; they got some big guys on the defensive line,” Joe Tippmann said. “I think it's going to be a struggle to move them, but we will do everything we can.”

Garrett, in his first year as head coach of the Saints, has repeatedly said how lucky he is to coach this class of seniors.

“It's one of those things where as a coach you kind of become a fan as you're watching,” Garrett said of watching his offense compete in pressure situations. “Led by our seniors on the line and seniors in the backfield that just have that certain will to win and refuse to lose. They want to succeed in those moments and they're an inspiration to all of us.”

ewyman@jg.net