By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY – The Hilltopper’s front line has a special name that was given to them by coach Shane Strong, the “Hoggies”.
According to Strong, it was four years ago that he started calling the line “hoggies”.
The nickname comes from the Washington Redskin’s football team whose line was called the “hogs”.
The Hoggies include seniors, Kyle Peterson, Alex Little, Blake Ramsden and Chris Wagner along with Richard Ross, Donovan Fornal, Skylar Peterson, Brennan Kessler, Richard Croes, Logan Smith, Christian Smith, Charles Shackett and Hogan Chouinard.
The five starters were Little at center, Fornal and Wagner at tackle and Kyle Peterson and Wagner at guards.
As a team, the Hilltoppers had over 5,000 yards offensively including 4,308 rushing yards.
“A big reason we were that successful was because of the work of the Hoggies,” shared Strong.
The Hoggies are a group of young men that communicate very well together, which is a big reason they were so successful this season.
“The center calls all the plays for the line and is very in tune with what is going on in the game, explained Strong. They have nicknames for each other or certain words they use so they can communicate effectively on the line and make the right play. They gel together very well”.
Strong said he has coached the boys how to “block through the whistle”. Once the ball is snapped and until the whistle is blown, it is 110 percent effort.
The line is conditioned by the use of seven second bursts, considering that’s about how long it takes for one play to be completed.
This has created a very disciplined line and the proof of this was made clear in every playoff game where the Toppers had their second-half surge and were able to out perform the opponent physically.
Even though three of five Hoggies will be gone to graduation next season, Strong doesn’t appear too worried.
“We still have two starters that will be returning and there are JV players that look to be very strong and should slide into the opening positions nicely,” shared Strong. “Being a small school we are able to create a lot of depth in our players.”
Along with a state championship, Little and Wagner were awarded 1st Team All-Conference and Croes was awarded Honorable Mention.
Wagner, a 6’4” right tackle/tight end/linebacker was also named 2012 All Northwest Lineman, which doesn’t just cover the conference, but the Northwestern part of the state.
“They don’t get the recognition in the papers like the other players do, but they were one of the main reasons we won the games we did,” expressed Strong of his Hoggies.