The ball is snapped, and Heights quarterback Matt Reed hands it off to Daniel Deshazer on a misdirection play. Among the chaos in the trenches, a seam opens between the left guard and the left tackle and the junior running back hits the hole hard. He comes through the wall of entangled bodies unscathed and picks up 60 yards.
The stands erupt — the fans have witnessed another big run by one of the Falcons' talented running backs. Deshazer jogs back to the huddle and thanks his offensive line. The fans saw him break a 60-yard run thanks to a quick cut and blazing speed, but he saw a gaping hole thanks to flawless assignment discipline and a pulling block by center Meteo Kamboui.
" (Deshazer) and I always talk about which one we're going to follow and which lineman we know will come through for us," running back Dreamius Smith said. "Then we'll get this long, great run. We don't just go back and thank that lineman. We go back and thank all of them. We know it's the hard work that they put in on a daily basis."
Deshazer (1,023 rushing yards) and Smith (1,323 rushing yards) have combined for 44 touchdowns and contributed to an offense that has put up a City League record 5,169 total yards. Kamboui takes pride in leading an offensive line that puts up such astounding numbers. Heights (11-0) and its explosive offense will play at Junction City (8-2) today in a Class 6A quarterfinal game.
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"What I like about it is, when something goes right, I feel accomplished," Kamboui said. "Whenever you see Dreamius or Deshazer break one, that means we did something right. That's pretty much what it's all about."
Heights coach Rick Wheeler gives his line the responsibility to make reads and adjustments to make sure his backs pick up the maximum yardage on each play. Most of those calls come from Kamboui.
"He knows everybody's position on the line like the back of his hand," Smith said. "He knows it all. If one of our linemen asks him what to do, then we will tell then. He'll also know his job. He's a good role model."
At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Kamboui has physical prowess to make sure the Falcons dominate the line of scrimmage on Friday nights, but they serve as complements to his football IQ.
"Our system can get a little bit complicated for those guys," Wheeler said. "They have to be able to think and problem-solve out there, and they have to have great communication. It all starts with Meteo. Meteo is the one who identifies the fronts for us and gives most of our line calls that allow our guys to make sure we're handling the scheme correctly."
Kamboui leads an undersized but powerful offensive line that Wheeler had some questions about heading into the season.
"I told everybody in our preseason stuff that I thought our offensive line was the unknown," Wheeler said. "I thought that was where we'd really be tested. I didn't know how good we would be. They've certainly exceeded our expectations up front."
A prime example has been Kamboui's progress. Wheeler called him a self-made player that didn't start a game until halfway through his junior season. .
"I really didn't think he could be a center in our system," Wheeler said. "I think he felt like he survived his junior year more than excelled in it. This summer he came to two sessions a day in the weight room. He just enabled himself to make as much improvement as he possibly could. It's been evident on the field."
Smith has noticed that work ethic become contagious on the offensive line.
"I have to believe our offensive line works harder than anybody else in the city," Smith said. "Coach Wheeler pushes them in practice. Even with the smallest mistake they make, coach Wheeler will make them pay for it. I think it just boils down to their work ethic."