Any football player will tell you that the offensive and defensive linemen are the unsung heroes of a team. They don’t get much credit, but a local event is trying to change that – even if just for a day.
"Rarely do you ever get on the TV," said King of the Trenches coordinator Mark Pankow to dozens of linemen before the 7th annual event on Wednesday. "But you are the prettiest, the most important people on every football team."
King of the Trenches brings linemen from different high schools around Wisconsin together to compete in several different events to test their speed, strength, agility and other skills and, eventually, crown a winner.
"It’s a fun event because we’re not really noticed as much as the running backs, the receivers, the quarterbacks," said McFarland junior lineman Bryce Thompson.
"[The linemen] don’t get the Friday night lights, scoring the touchdown and raising the ball above the head and having everybody hear their name over the loud speaker," said McFarland football coach Paul Ackley. "But the reason you scored the touchdown is because of those guys up front."
The linemen also get a shot to show their skills not normally associated with their position – like catching a punt, throwing a pass or attempting to kick a field goal.
"People forget that high school sports, you’re supposed to have fun," said Pankow, who helped create the event 7 years ago. "That’s what this really is all about. Have fun busting your butt, dragging your butt at the end of the night for a t-shirt and a Gatorade. And maybe the trophy?"
"I think it’s a great experience just to be here as a team," said Clinton senior lineman Zach Wynstra. "[It’s a kind] of like a team bonding. I think it’s a lot of fun. It gets the football feel going again, to get the competition going and just compete against other teams and see who can be the best out here."
You can find more information about the King of the Trenches competition on their "KOTT Challenge" Facebook page.