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Reedsburg's Line Savors Offensive Explosion

Varsity - 2008 Season
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008 by Bill Cooney

WIAA football: Reedsburg's line savors offensive explosion
 
Senior center Zach Downing has helped senior quarterback Tyler Mazur rush for 1,119 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.
 
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THU., NOV 20, 2008 - 10:24 AM
WIAA football: Reedsburg's line savors offensive explosion
By BILL COONEY
608-252-6165

Trying to figure out the idiosyncrasies of a veer option offense isn't easy.

In fact, Reedsburg senior left guard Bob Krueger and some of his linemates admit they had only one blocking scheme mastered as first-year starters in the offense at the beginning of last season.

It was called the look out block.

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"We call it a look out block," Krueger said, "because you pretty much missed it and you turn around and say, 'Look out!' to the quarterback."

Oh, how times have changed.

Not only are Krueger, senior left tackle Jeremy Klang and senior center Zach "Moose" Downing — the two other returning starters — and sophomore right guard Cody Schulte and senior right tackle Matt Rockweiler making effective blocks this season, they're paving the way for a near-unstoppable ground attack.

In four playoff games, the Beavers have averaged 392 yards rushing per game. That includes 25 rushing touchdowns. And that helps equal 49, 70, 34 and 40 points scored in a postseason that has put Reedsburg in its first state final.

The Beavers (10-3) take on Waupaca (13-0) in the WIAA Division 3 state title game Friday at Camp Randall Stadium.

"During the playoffs, I've had great stats and it's all because of them," said senior fullback Justin Huinker, who ran for a season-high 337 yards and three TDs in a Round 3 win over Madison Edgewood. "If I didn't have those holes that they opened every play, I wouldn't get anything."

Undersized, yet not undermanned, Reedsburg's offensive line is the secret to success for the Beavers. Depending on what play quarterback Tyler Mazur calls, each lineman has to be ready to make separate line calls in order to carry out a successful play.

On any given play in this offense, a lineman could be blocking a defensive end, a tackle, a linebacker or helping a teammate with a double-team block.

"They don't back down from anybody," third-year Reedsburg coach Brian Pottinger said. "And they know most of the defensive linemen are going to be bigger like they have all year. They know it's coming and they just go in there and battle."

At 240 pounds, Schulte is the biggest lineman. Krueger, Klang and Downing are around 200 pounds, while Rockweiler — a converted tight end — weighs 170.

"(It's great) knowing that you're doing your job even though you're not the big studly offensive lineman that everybody thinks you should be," said Klang, whose team has won five straight since a Week 8 loss to Waunakee. "And we're still having great success."

And what the Beavers lack in poundage, they make up for in humor.

At times during the season, the line — specifically Krueger — enjoys barking out dummy calls to confuse the defense.

Magenta. Mac 'n' Cheese. Tickle me pink. Yes, those are a few of the dummy variety. Or maybe they're not.
"It just got ridiculous," Krueger said. "We just threw in different words. (The defenses) were just trying to stay in the game. They were so confused."

When Krueger's not singing along to his Hip Hop favorites T.I. or Chris Brown from the back of the bus, he's joking with Mazur about his ability as a quarterback.

"Bob is always saying how Mazur's a unanimous (all-conference) first-team pick but he would have been all-state (as our quarterback)," Huinker said. (But) he doesn't have any arm at all."

While most linemen don't get the recognition they deserve because their names don't show up in the boxscore, just watching Mazur (1,119 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns), Huinker (1,192, 14) or tailback Matt Lennon (671, 17) bust a big play is satisfying enough for this quintet.

"It just feels great," Klang said. "Seeing the back fly past you going down the field and you're making the key block on the safety or the linebacker, it just feels good knowing you did something to help. Even though you don't get the recognition for it, it just feels really good inside."

Of course, a state title would make them feel even better.

"It's been quite a ride so far," Klang said. "But a win and getting that trophy would be the ultimate goal."

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