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Cougars O-line takes Offensive Players of the Week honor

Road graders, hogs, big fellas up front, unsung heroes of the offense. There are a lot of clichés that come to mind when one thinks about the position of offensive lineman.

When things go bad, when penalties pile up, and sacks get a quarterback hurt, they are cast into the spotlight. When things go great – when they work together like a well-oiled machine — they still won’t hear their names called over the stadium PA.

The Lawrence County Cougar offensive line is a tight group, six seniors and one junior. Their performance in week one against North Pike was dominating. Cougar ball-carriers combined for 444 yards of total rushing.

For their efforts, the offensive line of Latius Smith, Zavain Harris, Joe Lee Rutland, Avousier Kelly, Oliver Moreman, Decamron Lewis, and Brian Bogan have been named The Daily Leader Offensive Players of the Week.

Lawrence County running back Kylan Cooper ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Another Cougar runner — Perez Tyler — added 114 yards and one touchdown.

Running most of the night between the tackles — Lawrence County only attempted one pass in the game — the offensive line played physical and fast as a unit.

Rutland, the center and biggest man in the group, says the group has a tight bond.

“In the summer, after workouts, we’re always together,” said Rutland. “We’re either swimming or eating at the Mexican restaurant.”

For Kelly, that bond is the best part about being on the offensive line.

“The chemistry you have with the guys that line up beside you, that’s the best part,” he said.

Moreman, Kelly, and Rutland — the three biggest players in the group — all feel like they share in the leadership mantle.

Moreman lines up at left tackle and Kelly — known to his teammates as Juice — lines up at left guard. Smith (tackle) and Harris (guard) make up the right side of the line. Lewis and Bogan (the lone junior) are the tight ends.

“They’re a great group of guys that have to set the tone for us,” said Lawrence County head coach Jesse Anderson.

Setting the tone doesn’t just mean playing hard in games. Moreman says that starts in practice. That’s echoed by Rutland.

“If we as a line have a good practice, the whole team will have a good practice. If we have a bad practice, so will the whole team,” said Rutland.

Everybody in Monticello loves the group of big, gregarious lineman. The only exception to that may be the owners of the local Pizza Inn. Rutland says that the group can do major damage to the buffet when they get together.

“Pizza Inn loses money when I hit the buffet, no doubt about it,” he said.

Story by Cliff Furr