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Hard hitters: Mount Si football’s linemen reap the rewards of a team approach | Photo Gallery
On the field, Deven Lalgee and Jon Proctor are a pair of predators. The quarterback is their prey, and their hunt lasts only a few seconds when two opposing sets of linebackers collide.
If the opposing quarterback sees Proctor coming and reacts, chances are that Lalgee is waiting behind him. Or vice versa. Other times, the Wildcat line and tackles flush the prey toward the two defensive linemen, and “We reap the rewards,” said Lalgee.
Proctor and Lalgee's efforts last Friday, Oct. 25, against the Mercer Island offense put them two away from the team record for a night and one away apiece from the individual record for sacks. They're averaging at least one sack per game.
Mercer had a decent line, the boys said, but their prominent passing game made for multiple opportunities for Proctor, a senior defensive lineman, and Lalgee, a junior, to do their thing.
Seeking down a quarterback with a pass on his mind is their best attribute, says Lalgee.
"You have to be cautious, too," said Proctor. "If you sprint in there, he'll fly right out."
Once you've got him, "Just hold on," Lalgee said, "and try to push his knees down."
Things were working for them Friday, but "Everybody helped tonight," said Proctor. If the Mount Si linebacker/tackles, Evan Johnson and Drew Cotto, aren't stalking the quarterback, Lalgee and Proctor are probably on the prowl.
"I just go in there with the mindset that I need to stop that ball carrier," said Lalgee.
Beside seeking the record book, Proctor and Lalgee are looking ahead. "I want to help our team succeed, and go as deep as possible," said Proctor.
The Mount Si offensive and defensive lines were hard for Mercer Island to handle. The Wildcats dominated at Homecoming, with a 45-7 win over the Islanders on Friday, Oct. 25.
The score siren sounded from the get-go, as senior quarterback Nick Mitchell ran one touchdown in at the sixth minute. Mitchell threw for two, one to senior running back Bailey Takacs, another to senior wide receiver Trevor Daniels. Takacs added another in the second quarter, and senior running back Jordan Chapman and junior backup QB/defensive back Jonathon "JoJo" Hillel both scored in the second half.
Mount Si's line is growing into its role nicely, said head coach Charlie Kinnune.
The group includes players that play both offensive and defensive roles. Bradly Christensen is a returning all-league lineman. Chris Schlicting brings experience from playoffs last year. Senior Cameron Davis grows in experience every week. Jack Nordby holds the right flank. And, at center, first-year starter David Bluher is earning respect.
"We knew Chris Shlicting was going to be a big piece of the puzzle," said offensive line coach Jerry Maher. "We knew we were going to need David to step up. David has been exceptional for us. He's maximized his potential and stepped up as a leader on the line."
Davis "has great feet, he's a great pass protector," added Maher. "We've got a lot out of him this year."
"The bottom line is, you take lumps early in training and fall camp. You have to be patient," added Maher. "The way I view it is, by Friday night, I shouldn't have to do anything. They understand our scheme. They figure stuff out. They make adjustments. They're self-starters and that's the way I want them to be."
"We came out to win," said lineman Jack Nordby, following the Homecoming win. "We came out to win, we executed well. We worked as a unit."
When Mercer offered an unusual front attack, "we found ways to accomodate them," he added.
David Bluher is a senior first-year varsity player at center.
Bluher is breaking the mindset that you have to be huge to hold a spot on the line. Often outweighed by his opposite player, he holds his own.
"I'm one of those guys who fights back against that stereotype," he said. "No matter what size you are, you can do what you think you can do."
Members of the offensive line rely on each other. There are a lot of silent leaders who show the way.
"We're working as a unit now," said Bluher. "Cohesively, we're coming together. It helps to be on the same page. Even if someone is wrong, we can be right as a team."
• Follow Mount Si Football at http://mtsihsfootball.com/. The team hosts Liberty this Friday, Nov. 1, in its final home game of the season, 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.
Devin Lalgee and John Proctor
David Bluher, Mount Si center
The Mount Si line in action: Offensive/defensive lineman Jack Nordby blocks a Mercer Island lineman. Photo by Calder Productions
Mount Si kicker Sean Lowney fires the ball toward the Mercer side. Photo by Calder Productions