While the chill of autumn air seems so far away right now, that doesn’t mean the season is. Specifically the high school sports fall season and, more specifically, football season.
On Wednesday, I went to Bolingbrook for the annual Raider Linemen Challenge. I have been there several years in a row now, and I find it a good opportunity to see what the Morris linemen look like from putting in the time in the weight room since last Thanksgiving.
Considering that every lineman on Morris from last year is gone but T.J. Layne, I figured this area of team scouting deserved a closer look. After all, in the last couple of weeks I’ve written about the quarterback competition and this year’s corps of wide receivers. For what it’s worth, I plan on breaking down the Redskins linebackers and secondary at some point either next week when the 7-on-7 season wraps up or in the first week of the team’s padded camp.
As usual, Morris took three teams of linemen to the event this year - 15 kids total. Those linemen, including their height and weight from last year’s roster included: Eric Haisch (6-1, 265), T.J. Layne (6-1, 210), Mark Lincoln (5-10, 185), Andrew Fought (6-1, 215) and Austin Laurie (6-0, 210); the second team was Garrett Wisnewski (6-2, 180), Tristan Layne (5-9, 170), Ned Kneller (6-4, 260), Dalton Ness (5-11, 235) and Josh Garrett (6-2, 185) and the third team was Zach Hansen (5-10, 190), Chance Hoffman (N/A), Mason Dryfhout (6-3, 265), Tucker Hoffman (5-11, 250) and Kevin Hernandez (5-5, 236).
We’ll get you the results of the competition itself when they are released. In the meantime, know that the boys don’t look soft by any stretch of the imagination. They don’t look slow and mechanical, either.
At this point, there really is no telling what a high school team is really capable of. All I know is that only two times ever has Morris gone to the state finals in back-to-back years (’79-’80 and ’04-’05). Having pointed that out, both the ’80 and ’05 teams won state after a runner-up finish.
We’ll find out more about those chances in 41 days at kickoff.