In the trenches – Thompson O-Line one of county’s biggest, toughest

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

It’s tough to guess who might tremble more when Thompson’s big five comes rumbling in, opposing defenses or the managers at local all-you-can-eat buffets.

Both have plenty to fear in the Warriors’ starting offensive line.

From tackle to tackle, Thompson’s front-men are a hefty load at a combined 1,325 pounds.

The unit has been called one of the best in one of the state’s toughest regions, with two standouts in senior guards Rick Paschal and Landen Vickery. Both have garnered the attention of college recruiters.

Tackles James Mangham and Matt Penhale along with center Jared McNutt round out the group that coach Ricky Seale calls one of the biggest and most talented lines he’s had in his 15 years at Thompson.

But Thompson’s offensive linemen aren’t searching for recognition, and they aren’t used to reading their names in the paper or hearing them announced from the press box.

Instead, they measure success by the accomplishments of the Thompson backfield and the performance of the team as a whole.

&uot;We come out here and work everyday the same and that’s 110 percent,&uot; Vickery said. &uot;And we don’t have any individuals, we’re all in this together.&uot;

A tight-knit group, they often get together to hit up the all-you-can-eat buffets at CiCis Pizza, Golden Corral, Pavilions and other local restaurants.

&uot;If it says buffet on the door, we’re coming in,&uot; Penhale said.

With Thompson making the jump from Class 5A to 6A this season, the offensive line will need much more than a big appetite to be competitive with top programs like Hoover, Spain Park, Oak Mountain and rival Pelham.

&uot;This bunch does work extremely hard,&uot; said Thompson offensive line coach Shane Stearns. &uot;They pride themselves on doing every little thing correct.&uot;

Those work habits seem to be reaping dividends already this year, as Thompson dominated the line of scrimmage in a 49-0 win against Central-Tuscaloosa last week