Life in the Trenches: North Atlanta Football’s Unsung Heroes


Lizzie Havey

Doing the dirty work: The unsung heroes of North Atlanta football line up against their assignments.

The most integral part of any football team is the guys in the trenches, the offensive linemen. Their job? Protecting their quarterback day in and day out, making sure their jerseys are filthy while their quarterback’s remains clean. The job of an offensive lineman is one of the most taxing as these big men clash play after play with the opposing team, but North Atlanta’s own took on the challenge, allowing the team to thrive and make the playoffs.

Offensive linemen are one of the highest-paid groups in the National Football League (NFL) for a reason. They are difference makers in a game, allowing the quarterback time and space to make the pass or creating openings for a running back to fill, anything to give their team the edge. They work tirelessly around the clock to form an impenetrable wall for the offense. Together they are a brotherhood, relying on each other to hold their blocks and stand their ground against whatever the defense comes at them with. No one is more appreciative of the guys on the front line than the backfield. “We would not be 7-3 without those guys,” said senior running back Hunter Davis. “They make my job so much easier.” 

The offensive line is the closest-knit group on the entire squad. They do all their workouts together as a unit, building essential chemistry and camaraderie. Communication is key for the line as they have to be able to call out stunts and blitzes throughout the game to ensure the effectiveness of their blocking. Without their hard work and extensive team building, they would not be able to hold each other accountable or be there to congratulate each other. “They are the closest group on our team,” said Coach Aull. “They really bring themselves together while leading by example for the rest of the team even when no one notices them.”

With practice four days a week, games every Friday, and grueling off-season workouts, the linemen work year-round to get into playing shape and learn the system implemented by their position coaches, Coach Aull, and Coach Gainer. Both Aull and Gainer take pride in the offensive line, having had a profound impact on their development. “Without Coach Gainer, I would not be the player I am today. He makes sure we put the work in every day to be able to put the best product on the field,” said senior lineman John Gibson.

The most overlooked position in football is the most important. The lack of praise does not bother them. They do not do it for themselves, they do it for the rest of the team. The team’s success is their success. Look for the unsung heroes of the North Atlanta football team to keep the backfield clean and clear come playoff time.