MINEOLA — A success of an offense stops at front with the offensive line.
But those five guys often go unnamed and unheralded. You often hear the names of the guys behind them — the quarterback and the running back.
You rarely hear the names of the individual linemen — unless they make a mistake. They are often referred to as the offensive line, one cohesive unit.
And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We understand that we’ve got to do what we have to do, and it’s not a glory spot,” senior center Dawson Elmore said. “We give the other guys a chance to have the glory.”
That changed this past week for the big guys in Mineola — Elmore, Jackson Anderson, Kaleb Barton, Nate Griffin and Isaiah Gardner.
Those five individuals came together to help the Yellowjackets rush for more than 500 yards for the second consecutive game in a 70-7 win over Howe.
That performance earned them the Tyler Morning Telegraph/UT Health East Texas Sports Medicine Offensive Players of the Week for the ninth week of the high school football season.
“It feels great to finally get some credit for what we do on Friday nights,” Elmore said.
“I think it’s the most important thing, anytime you are talking about a good football team, you’ve got to be good up front on both sides,” Mineola head coach Luke Blackwell said. “For us offensively, that starts with the big boys up front on the offensive line.”
Right guard Anderson is a three-star recruit who is committed to the University of Colorado. He’s the younger brother of former Mineola standouts Austin and Riley Anderson.
“He brings a big, tough body in there,” Blackwell said. “We feel like we can get some good matchups in there with him against whoever we play. It’s good to have a go-to guy up front when we need to get short yardage.”
“We’ve got to continue to be tougher than everybody else and get our blocks,” Anderson said. “Our players in the backfield are really good, so we know if we do our job, we can move the ball.”
Barton, the left guard, joins Anderson and Elmore as the three returning starters on the offensive line.
Barton said their success has been pretty simple
“All we did was work hard and do our jobs,” Barton said.
The newcomers at the tackle spots are junior Griffin and sophomore Gardner.
“We all have a good relationship,” Gardner said. “It’s like a big family over here.”
“We have to keep working hard, keep training hard and just play football,” Griffin said.
The Yellowjackets are 7-1 overall and 4-1 in District 5-3A Division I and are averaging 421.4 yards per game — 360.6 on the ground. Mineola will host Emory Rains on Friday.