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New Albany’s offense has seen a lot of success so far this season, and it all starts with the group up front.
The offensive line, known better as “The Police” helped running back Kelvin Worship with his successful game running against Ripley, as well as allowing only one sack on quarterback Tyler Basil in two games.
“I always say that it starts with the offensive line, and that’s true because without them, it doesn’t work,” Basil said. “They give me time, they give the running backs time and the receivers time to catch the ball.”
“Most of them have a lot of game experience coming into this season,” NAHS head coach Ron Price added. “We had to move Collin Stubblefield out to tackle during the middle of our fall practice. We thought he would give us the best option there at tackle, and he was willing to make that change, taking it with great attitude.”
The change moved junior Terrance Riles to center, giving him the opportunity to step up in another area on offense.
“We challenged him back in the spring,” Price explained. “At the time he was the fourth string running back, and we asked him if he wanted to remain fourth string, or if he wanted to move to center. He bought into moving positions and has done an outstanding job. He was committed to the summer workouts and has had a great attitude.”
The group has grown close, as they’ve gained a lot of experience playing the last three seasons.
“We’re the police,” senior tackle Mario Waldrop said. “We’re real close and we bonded over the summer. We lost Devin Mills and we’ve had some move around, so with me and Collin at tackle, Cade and Wade both starting at guard, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Having the opportunity to work with the unit for three years, Price is pleased with their improvement and overall success.
“With Mario Waldrop, Cade and Wade Simmons and Collin, all of those guys have been playing for us for three years and they know what to do,” he said.
“They know their assignments, and they’ve all graded out around eighty percent the first two games. They don’t get a lot of notoriety, so for them to go out and do the job they do and that they don’t get too many pats on the back, it just shows their character and how much pride they take playing the offensive line.”
The line will again be challenged this week, as they will take on Corinth. The Warriors surprised the Bulldogs last season, handing New Albany a 35-20 loss.
“If you counted the score between the twenties, we would have blown them out, but once we got inside the twenty, we really stalled,” Price said. “It started on our opening possession. We drove down and we overthrew Kareem Brown in the end zone. We came away in that possession with no points, and it was all down hill from there.”
Price hopes to see a different team take the field this season, as he knows last year’s game was one they let slip away.
“As a coach, you leave that game thinking you still have the better team, you just didn’t execute when the opportunity was there,” he said.
“Hopefully we’ve grown as a team in the past year and the plays we didn’t make then, hopefully we can make them this Friday night and come out with a win.”
As for The Police, they are ready for the challenge.
“We’re going to know what to do and who to block. We’ll be ready,” Waldrop said.
Kickoff for Friday’s game is set for 7:30.