Lynx O-line is special, and will only get better
Chris Seeley has a tough job and it’s one I wouldn’t want. Who would?
The 6-foot, 220-pound senior serves as the center on the Webster City football team, a thankless job where notoriety comes in the form of criticism 99 percent of the time.
Seriously, when was the last time you talked about the center without bemoaning a bad snap or missed assignment? Now you get it.
Well, that all ends right here, right now.
He’s not the biggest and he’s not the strongest man on Webster City’s imposing offensive line, but Seeley has been impeccable through five games. Can you remember one wayward snap, every single one of them out of a shotgun formation? That’s because there hasn’t been one, nor has he been blown up by an opposing nose guard.
Stable. Consistent. Dang good. That’s been Seeley.
And he’s just one cog on what is quite possibly the best Lynx offensive line assembled by head coach Bob Howard since he came to town and resurrected the program nearly a decade ago.
Look, the season is only at the halfway mark and big games remain, so there are plenty of chapters left to be written before any conclusions can be made. But if the trajectory of the WCHS offense remains on the same path, then what you’re currently seeing is a special group that is only going to continue to get better.
For opponents, that should draw more than a few big gulps.
“We just expect the best and do what we do,” WCHS senior offensive guard Ashton High said. “We’re just going to keep doing us.”
High, at 5-10 and 235, serves as one of the Lynx pulling guards alongside the imposing 6-2, 270-pound junior Cooper Lawson. At the tackle spots are 5-10, 270-pound senior Zac Lucero and 6-3, 240-pound senior Nathan Reed. Bryer McCoy, a junior at 6-4 and 245, serves as the primary blocking end.
That’s the group that has so far directed one of the program’s most prolific rushing offenses in years. WCHS leads Class 3A and is second in all classes behind only Madrid with 1,966 ground yards, an average of 393.2 yards per game.
For some context, last fall’s 11-1 team that featured first-team all-state tailback Gavin Dinsdale and reached the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs, averaged 346.9 yards rushing per game. You have to go back to 2011 and the video game-like offense led by all-staters Keagan Parks and Jonny Davis to find a Lynx team that matched up to this season’s rushing offense.
That 2011 offense was can’t-miss theater and averaged, coincidentally enough, 393.3 yards rushing per outing. Parks galloped on the perimeter, Davis did damage through the middle, Sam Mossman ripped off plenty of nice runs and beastly pulling guard Nick Erritt pancaked anyone that came into his path. It was fun to watch.
And so is this 2016 unit.
Lawson, an all-state player last fall as a sophomore, is the second coming of Erritt, except he’s bigger. Much bigger, actually. He and High haven’t been perfect – nobody is – but their mistakes have been few and far between. Add the execution and physicality of Lucero and Reed and you get a group that plays with swagger and passion.
Even Howard, an offensive line mastermind and an admitted constant critic of the play up front, has been impressed with his current crop of blockers.
“I’m very happy with the offensive line right now,” Howard said following Friday’s 35-7 rout of Ballard, but then quickly added while chuckling “but Monday I won’t be because I’ll find a bunch of things to complain about. The nice part, as I always say, is we still have room to get a lot better.
“If there’s one unit on the team I want to be good, it’s the offensive line. We do take a lot of pride in it and most years we have a pretty good line. The years that we don’t are the years we don’t do very well.”
However, the play of the offensive line would be exponentially devalued had WCHS not found an absolute gem of a tailback in senior Robert Frederiksen. If there’s no one to run through the holes, were they ever really there?
Frederiksen has taken the ball and run with it, so to speak. The 5-10, 210-pound senior is among the state’s leading rushers despite playing in just four of the Lynx five games. His 198-yard effort against Ballard was a highlight reel of beautiful cuts, quick bursts and power when he opted to put his head down and inflict punishment.
This is a guy that was in running back Siberia prior to this fall. Stuck behind Dinsdale, he barely sniffed the field before he jumped into the spotlight with 213 yards rushing against Clear Lake in his season debut on Sept. 2.
Skip to the present and Frederiksen has amassed 892 yards and 11 touchdowns with averages of 223 yards per game and 8.2 yards per carry.
WCHS had one of the state’s best running backs last fall in Dinsdale. It does again in Frederiksen, that’s just a fact.
“You take what (former WCHS running backs) John Hill and Ross Haren were, and Connor Larson and Gavin Dinsdale, Robert is a little bit of all of them with a really good sense of how to read blocks and set up blocks,” Howard said. “He’s worked exceedingly hard for this, too. There were days this summer where I’d stop after leaving the school at 6:30 or 7 at night and kick him off the practice field because he would be out there with pylons doing jump cut drills.”
At 4-1, WCHS will face its toughest test to date on Friday when it hosts District 2 co-leader Dallas Center-Grimes. Win it and the Lynx are right in the thick of playoffs chase.
If the offensive line and Frederiksen continue to play at such high levels, I like the Lynx chances. I really do.