Pancakes stacking up for Mechanicsburg offensive line

The Indians offense has compiled some impressive stats behind an offense line that prides itself on putting defensive linemen on their backs with “pancake” blocks. And at 12-0 the pancakes have been stacking up for the Breakfast Club.

“(Getting a pancake) is probably the greatest feeling being an offensive lineman,” junior guard Alex Walton said.

Springing quarterback Kaleb Romero or running back Phil Cook for a touchdown — they’ve combined for 43 of Mechanicsburg’s 53 rushing TDs — is a close second. The offensive line looks for more of both when Mechanicsburg plays four-time defending state champion Marion Local (11-1) in the Division VI, Region 22 title game Saturday.

“The offensive line is where it all starts,” said junior guard Dylan Hartley, who along with injured senior Trent Fuller coined the Breakfast Club. “It’s one guy versus the next.”

Mechanicsburg has been winning those battles. The Indians are averaging 10.5 yards per play and 421 yards per game.

That skill players Romero and Cook get the headlines is fine with the lineman, who often work in obscurity unless there’s a penalty.

“We don’t really care about (attention). We just do what we’re supposed to do,” said junior center Dylan Hartman. “Our running backs and everyone gives us credit for what we do, so that’s all that really matters.”

Besides, sophomore Cannon Propst has experienced what it’s like to receive and not dish it out. During one practice Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest had some linemen switch positions with junior varsity receivers to help the skill players understand the importance of being physical and blocking.

“It felt uncomfortable for me,” Propst said of lining up away from his friends. “The closer I am to people the stronger I can be because I’m not as agile as those skill guys.”

The linemen have formed a bond that’s been difficult to break, both on and off the field. Described as the most goofy players by their teammates, the offensive linemen have allowed nine sacks. The defense, which includes many of those same linemen, has 31.

“We’re always cracking jokes and trying to make practice smoother,” said junior tackle Ethan Elliott. “It’s not just the line having fun with the line. It’s the whole team having fun together.”

Added junior tackle John Samples: “It’s fun (being on the line) because your best friends are right beside you.”

That means they’re that much closer to help celebrate one of those pancakes.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling in a way because you just did your job to the best of your ability,” Samples said.

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