The beefiest members of the Lehman Lobo football program flexed their muscles and stomped, tugged and drove their way to a come-from-behind victory over a half dozen other schools in a “lineman challenge” last week at Lehman High School.
After competing in a number of trials designed to measure strength and explosiveness – including bench presses, tire flips and medicine ball tosses – the Lobos’ team members found themselves in second place at the June 26 event, down by two points to frontrunner McCallum.
The Lobos had one final chance to take the lead in an event called the Firestone Scramble. One by one, a Lehman lineman squared off against a player from opposing schools in a two-man battle of tug-of-war to see who could pull a tire five yards to victory. And one by one, the Lobos knocked off the competition, defeating the San Marcos Rattlers in the championship to leapfrog McCallum in the overall standings.
Kris Hernandez, a returning starter on the defensive line who bench-pressed 225 pounds 12 times, said the event offered summertime motivation to out-hustle players he could line up against in the fall.
“This helps you fire off faster and be stronger and more conditioned,” he said. “You also see how much harder you have to work because we all compete to see which school’s working hardest.”
Lobo Derick Chavarria, a junior guard, pulled a 190-pound sled so hard the rope came loose and he had to start over, still managing to set a team-best time. Julian Silguero, a sophomore tackle, kept up with his more seasoned teammates, and Cruz Banda, a returning starter at center, offered advice for chunking a medicine ball from a kneeling position.
“I shoot it like a half-court shot in basketball,” he said, “and I flick my wrists at the end to put a little extra push on it.”
For Kenny Higgins, a returning All-District performer who sat out the Lobos’ spring drills with an injured left knee, the lineman challenge provided an opportunity to compete with his teammates in several of the events that did not put too much strain on his recovering knee.
“We all have a little bond going, so it’s always fun to hang out with the other linemen,” he said.
Higgins, a senior, said he has begun to run, plant and perform squat thrusts, and he added that he expects to be released to play in time for the first game of the season.
The McCallum Knights landed in second place after Lehman overtook them, while Dripping Springs finished third and Lockhart was fourth. Lobos head coach Todd Raymond organized the event and said he plans to host another one after the July Fourth break.
“With all the 7-on-7 games, camps and other things, this is an opportunity for the linemen to have something to do and develop some camaraderie as well,” Raymond said. “It’s not football-related. It tests a combination of strength and explosiveness that fit what they’ll need in the fall.”