2011-08-12 / Sports
Royal linemen ready to run the rock
Gridiron impact report: Royal offensive line
The Royal High football team’s five starting offensive linemen have a special bond.
They started together on the freshman team, and worked their way up the ranks. They gave up “at most six or seven sacks” as a unit in 2010, said head coach Kevin Flye.
After shuffling spots for the first half of last season, the fab five settled into their roles for the final five games.
Now, they’re ready to go.
“This group’s so good together,” Flye said. “They’re all good kids and all good students. They’re team guys, and they’re all 20 pounds heavier and stronger than last year.”
Left tackle Joey Blanc, left guard Armando Reynoso, center Brett Rampton, right guard Luke Guerrero and right tackle Asaf Ben-Aderet want to propel the Highlanders to their first playoff berth since 2006.
These guys also know how to have fun.
During an entertaining photo shoot, the Highlanders ripped Rampton for shamelessly sporting sunglasses—and for displaying a Miley Cyrus picture in his locker.
They all have unique personalities.
“Luke’s an interesting guy,” Rampton said. “ He’s a little quirky oddball who gets the job done. He’s also one of the smartest guys on the team.
“Asaf’s a little quiet. He has moments when he gets out (of his shell). He does his job well.”
Rampton continued his assessment of the offensive line.
“Joey’s one of the serious guys. He’s really passionate about football,” he said.
“Armando tries to be serious, but we can’t take him serious because we know him so well. He’s really good at picking stuff up quickly. He has good form and he does everything well.”
Rampton’s a total goof off the field, but he knows when to focus.
“On the field, I don’t talk a lot. I really have to keep everyone focused,” the center said.
“Off the field, I like to keep everyone loose. I don’t like when things are serious when they don’t have to be.”
Rampton, who’s 6 feet tall and 245 pounds, enjoys his on-field responsibilities.
“I like to be in the middle of things,” he said.
The senior started playing football with the Simi Valley Vikings at age 10.
He takes pride in his teammates’ ability to move the chains.
“As a line, we want to try to get points on the board every time we go on the field,” Rampton said.
“We want to minimize hits on our quarterback—no sacks and no knockdowns. We want to get the running back yards every time, with nothing less than four or five yards a carry.”
Reynoso was a Marmonte League First-Team Offense and Second-Team All-Ventura County standout last season.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound left guard will also contribute at defensive end. Blanc and Guerrero will take some snaps at defensive tackle, Flye said.
Reynoso has worked on his speed, strength and footwork.
“As one unit, we’re really solid,” Reynoso said. “We work as one strong group and get the job done.”
Ben-Aderet is focused on doing his job right every play, but he doesn’t have any personal goals.
“No, not really,” the 6-foot-1, 225-pound right tackle said.
“I want to play my best and help the team where I can.”
Blanc is a “pit bull” on the line, according to Reynoso.
The senior left tackle has started on varsity since his sophomore year. He’s ready for a big season.
“We can step up our game and get to the playoffs,” the 5-foot-11, 230-pound Blanc said.
“That’s our main goal.”
Guerrero, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound right guard who also plays middle blocker in volleyball, thinks highly of his fellow linemen.
“We are one of the best offensive lines in this league,” Guerrero said. “Defenses out there better be ready.”