Through four weeks of high school football action, Solanco leads the Lancaster-Lebanon League in total rushing yards (1,376), and is fifth in yards per game (370). It’s not much of a surprise from Solanco’s run-heavy triple-option offense. But what might shock some is the Mules have put up the crooked offensive numbers with an o-line made up of first-year varsity starters, with none of them being seniors.
Instead, two are juniors (center Seth Harnish and left guard Connor Sprout) and three are sophomores (left tackle Connor Smith, right guard Jake Frampton and right tackle Cole Gladfelter). And Harnish is new to the o-line, while the other four have been playing together since seventh grade.
Last Friday, that o-line unit was responsible for opening holes that helped three Solanco running backs to go over 100 rushing yards apiece, with the Mules’ 499 total yards all coming on the ground in a 42-0 win over Garden Spot, the team’s third-straight victory. For their efforts, the five Solanco o-linemen are LNP’s Week Four Football Players of the Week, sponsored by Kegel's Produce.
Here’s a Q&A conducted collectively with the o-lineman before Monday’s practice.
How would you characterize the growth of the o-line unit from the first day of two-a-days to now? Frampton: “Us hanging out at teams meals and being together on water breaks we’re always talking. (Offensive line coach Mike) Hammel is helping us with that in terms of getting better on and off the field. Coach Hammell says big guys are naturally leaders. So we have to lead on the team and in school. We’re constantly bonding with each other.”
What’s been the most challenging part going from junior varsity to varsity football?: Frampton: “I’d say the maturity level. With varsity there’s no time for goofing off. You have to be focused on doing your job and helping the team.”
Do you have a favorite running play you guys like to block on?: Frampton: “Yeah. 22. It’s a play Seth and I block together on. And it goes right off my butt. That’s my favorite.”
What areas do you still need to improve?: Frampton: “The little things and technique. Steps. Mentally knowing your job and what to do on each play.”
Time for some fun questions. ...o-linemen rarely get the chance to score touchdowns. Let’s say the ball somehow ends up in your hands and you score a TD. How do you celebrate?: Frampton: “I would not even know what to do. I’d probably end up walking away from the play not knowing what happened.”
Do you ever get hungry during a game and want to go to the concession stand?: Gladfelter: “Yeah, I would like to get a cheeseburger or something. Last game I smelled a steak and I was just craving a steak.”
Let’s say you get to switch to another position for one game. What would it be and why?: Harnish: “Probably wide receiver. So I could just get my hands on the ball and get a chance to score a touchdown.”
Let’s say you’re in charge of the lunch menu at school for a day. What do you add?: Sprout: “I’d make a big italian meal. Bread, pasta, raviolis and lasagna.”
What’s your favorite toy as a kid?: Smith: “I have a stuffed animal cow. I’ve had it since I was two. It’s still in my room in my closet.”
Does it have a name?: Smith: “Cowey.”