Coach Gabe Cory knows that if you're going to win football games, you're going to have to put the time in to compete. His three-year game plan may be showing signs of fruition, as Maine East football took first place at CSL's Linemen Challenge on July 13 at Glenbrook North High School. The competition featured 19 teams from 12 different high schools.
Just two years ago, the mostly same group of kids finished dead last in the linemen challenge. Last year, they came in ninth place. This year, however, they brought home the top prize and finished first.
Unlike wide receivers and running backs, who participate in 7-on-7 scrimmages, linemen must compete in brute strength exercises during the offseason. Some of the challenges include flipping over a tractor tire, pulling a full-sized pickup truck and bench pressing 185-pounds as many times as possible.
"The one I have the most pride in is the bench," Cory said. "185-pounds of reps. Our top five kids did 93 reps. We were at 32 reps two years ago. That is a big improvement."
Cory said the team achieved first place by putting the time in at the gym. He added that the group came to school at 6:00 a.m. three days a week to workout.
"When they look in the mirror now, they are seeing a different type of kid," Cory said. "They look like lineman now.
"It was an awesome experience," Cory added. "The kids are starting to realize that through hard work good things are going to come to them; they're on the verge of turning that corner."