KING — North Surry and East Surry put in a good showing at West Stokes’ annul Lineman Challenge this week.
The Wildcats hosted more than 140 athletes from seven schools: the three Stokes County schools, North Surry, East Surry, McMichael and Northeast Guilford.
Teams hold 7-on-7 drills to work on their passing attacks and pass defenses, but leaves out the offensive and defensive linemen.
A few years ago, West Stokes created the Lineman Challenge to put the spotlight on the players who don’t get enough attention.
“I’ve never had a parent run up to me and say, ‘I can’t wait for my kid to be an offensive lineman,’” said East head coach David Diamont. Parents like to see their kids at quarterback, running back or receiver.
The challenge bumped up to five events this year. The individuals competed to see how many times they could flip over a tractor tire in a given amount of time. They threw a 15-pound medicine ball off their knees for distance. Two players would face off on opposite sides of a small sled and pull to see who could move the other outside of a circle.
The new event was a farmer’s carry with a new tool.
What they were carrying looked like a big ironing board, but you could put water inside it, said Diamont. The device held maybe 50 pounds of water inside, and the players had to travel through a course while holding it steady.
The water sloshed around inside, and that worked out several different core muscles, he said. It wasn’t just brute strength; balance and agility played a factor.
The final challenge was a five-man tug of war. East Surry had a JV team and a varsity A and B team.
Diamont said the JV team won its division, and the two varsity squads won all the way up to the final to face each other. This is an event where the five guys have to work together as a team, he said, so that event always seems a little more special.
East senior Ben Chilton finished second in two events.
Ben just showed up at practice a couple of years ago and asked if he could play, said Diamont. The coach didn’t know what to expect from the young man, but Chilton has worked hard to get stronger over the past two years.
Corbin Kiser, who finished second in the tire flip, has battled injuries the past two seasons, and Diamont hopes he can stay healthy and have a good senior year.
As for the other teams there, Diamont said North Surry junior Nick Huff “looked like a beast,” as did South Stokes senior Matt Patane.
Patane, who also wrestles and competes in track and field, might be moving from lineman to fullback this season, Diamont noted.
As for Huff, North Surry coach Danny Lyons said, “He had a good night. He’s worked hard since the middle of spring to do everything we wanted him to do.”
At 230 pounds, there are opponents bigger than Nick on the line, but he doesn’t back down from any challenge, said Lyons.
Last year, Jordan DeHart put on a show at the challenge, but he has since graduated. Still, Lyons said there were some pleasant surprises from some young athletes.
Freshman Noah Holder and sophomores Ryan Eldridge and Hank Ward did great, and that bodes well for the JV team, he said. The coach might even pull one of them up to play on varsity if they fare well once the pads go on next month.
Up next for the Cardinals and Greyhounds is West Stokes’ 7-on-7 drills Thursday evening.
Then comes the Granite Bears’ annual 7-on-7 on the last day of July.
East Surry always attends the event in Mount Airy, then heads back to Pilot Mountain for Midnight Madness. The parking lot is often full for hours heading into midnight with tailgating parties.
Here are the results from West Stokes:
Farmer’s Carry – 1- Noah Holder – North Surry, 2- Ian Simpson – West Stokes, 3- Steven Fatz – South Stokes
Sled Pull – 1 – Fatz – South Stokes, 2- Tyler Wilson – E. Surry, 3- Duncan – McMichael
Most Tire Flips – 1- Jacob Nixon – Starmount, 2- Lucas Martin – West Stokes, 3- Jeffrey Duncan – McMichael
Medicine Ball – 1- Jacob Nixon – Starmount, 2- Lucas Martin – West Stokes, 3- Jeffrey Duncan – McMichael
Farmer’s Carry – 1- Ryan Eldridge – North Surry, 2- Timmy Tilley – East Surry, 3 – Parker Pratt – West Stokes
Sled Pull – 1- Hank Ward – North Surry, 2- Collins – West Stokes, 3 – Morgan – East Surry
Tire Flip – 1- Wilkins – West Stokes, 2-A. Lopez – Starmount, 3- Zigler -Northeast Guilford
Medicine Ball – 1- Zigler – Northeast Guilford, 2- Ryan Eldridge – North Surry, 3 – Austin Lopez – Starmount
Farmer’s Carry – 1 – Nick Huff – North Surry, 2 – Devan Robertson – West Stokes, 3 – Jeremiah Smith – Northeast Guilford
Sled Pull – 1 – Spainhour – West Stokes, 2 – Nick Huff – North Surry, 3 – Devan Robertson – West Stokes
Tire Flip – 1- Hicks – McMichael, 2 – South Stokes, 3 – Luis Suarez – East Surry
Medicine Ball – 1 – Nick Huff – North Surry, 2 – Devan Robertson – West Stokes, 3 – Dustin Young – North Surry
Farmer’s Carry – 1 – Matt Patane – South Stokes, 2 – Ben Chilton – East Surry, 3 – Alex Finney – West Stokes
Sled Pull – 1 – Robbie Henley – South Stokes, 2 – Ben Chilton – East Surry, 3 – Wilson – McMichael
Tire Flip – 1 – Matt Patane – South Stokes, 2 – Corbin Kiser – East Surry, 3 – Josh Goad – West Stokes
Medicine Ball – 1 – Jacob Wagoner – West Stokes, 2 – Sloan – Northeast Guilford, 3 – Matt Patane – South Stokes
Amanda Dodson, The Stokes News, contributed to this report.