Snohomish offensive line anchors team

SNOHOMISH — Everyone in Snohomish County seems to know about the Dreamliner, but what about the Dream Line?

Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner jet has received loads of attention even though it probably won’t carry passengers until late next year — maybe. Meanwhile, the Snohomish High School football team’s dominant offensive linemen, dubbed the Dream Line by a parent who works for Boeing, has been providing safe passage for Panthers running backs all season.

Snohomish’s O-line — which includes weakside tackle Will Leahy, left guard Mike Surdyk, center Donald Gaddy, right guard Nick Oglesby and strongside tackle Peter Olsen — has helped make the Panthers’ rushing attack the most effective in the Western Conference. Through its first nine games, Snohomish ball carriers gained 2,943 yards and scored 33 rushing touchdowns.

The top beneficiary has been senior fullback Derek Jones (1,576 yards, 19 TDs). Snohomish has used its Wing-T ground game to compile an 8-1 record and earn a second-place finish in the Wesco North Division.

The Dream Line, whose members call themselves the Wrecking Crew, has steadily improved all season, Snohomish coach Mark Perry said: “Really, they’ve gotten a little bit better every week.”

Coach Perry hopes the trend continues when Snohomish travels to play Kentwood (6-3) tonight in a Class 4A quad-district playoff game at French Field in Kent. Kentwood features senior running back Demitrius Bronson (1,346 rushing yards, 11 TDs), who verbally committed to play for the University of Washington.

“The Bronson kid is a good player,” said Perry. “I compare him to (Snohomish’s) Jones — a good athlete. (Bronson) is their team, I think. They have some other good kids, but if we can control him offensively we’re gonna be OK.”

When Snohomish has the ball, it hopes to control the line of scrimmage against Kentwood with its usually dominant line. The Panthers’ all-senior group also gets help from junior tight end Jake Reinhard. Together, their average height is 6-foot-2 (Olsen, Gaddy and Reinhard are 6-4) and their average weight is 248 pounds.

But the number that means just as much to coach Perry is 3.3, the average grade-point average of each player. It means that the Dream Line uses its brains along with its considerable brawn to succeed on the field.

“We can do a lot more this year than we ever could. We can change schemes. We can change things in the middle of a game (or) a practice and they’ll remember what was said to them,” Perry said.

The linemen quickly identify defensive alignments and adjust to keep Snohomish’s ground game rolling forward.

“When you’re seeing a 4-4 (defense with four linemen and four linebackers) and a 5-2 and a 5-3 and a goal-line front — you see so many different things that those guys really need to be on top of it. It’s not all simple.”

The reason for the Dream Line’s success, however, is simple, said Oglesby, Snohomish’s student-body president.

“It starts with the coaching staff. We’ve got one of the best coaching staffs in the state,” the right guard said, “and (assistant coach Ed Lucero) works with the offensive line. He’s a genius as far as getting us moving in the right direction.”

Another key is that the linemen get along with the backs who depend on them for running room. Said Olsen, the strongside tackle, “(Jones is) always helping us out and keeping us motivated. I love blocking for him.”

Halfback Miles Semanskee clearly appreciates his opportunity. “You can definitely tell that we are privileged,” said Semanskee, the team’s No. 2 rusher (603 yards, five TDs).

Familiarity has helped the linemen jell. Surdyk, who missed all of last season with an injured left knee, and Oglesby have played together since seventh grade, and in middle school they competed against Leahy.

“They know each other so well,” coach Perry said. “They know who’s gonna get picked on if they hang out and which one’s gonna open his mouth at the wrong time, and all the little things.”

The newest, and biggest, piece of the O-line puzzle is Gaddy. The 6-4, 330-pound center transferred last spring to Snohomish from Mount Tahoma High, where he was a first-team all-league football honoree in 2006.

Gaddy is a big, strong kid who can move anyone, Perry said. Semanskee enthusiastically supported his coach’s claim.

“Look at the kid,” said Semanskee. “He’s huge. He’s a giant. He’s really holding down the center line.”

With their assortment of size, smarts and camaraderie, Snohomish’s O-linemen indeed seem like a group that ball carriers dream of running behind.

Contact Herald Writer Mike Cane at mcane@heraldnet.com. For more high school sports news, check out the prep sports blog Double Team at www.heraldnet.com/doubleteam.

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