Gentlemen in the trenches
Newsday's Bob Herzog looks at five of Long Island's unsung heroes along the offensive line as they share what makes them tick.
JAMES O'HAGAN, Seaford
6-2, 290, OL-DL, senior
"I love seeing our running backs get their names in the paper. I love when they get big touchdowns and big yardage. It makes me feel awesome about myself because I know I did my job and I know that I motivated the rest of the linemen so that they did their job as well."
MALCOLM PRIDGEON, Central Islip
6-7, 295, OT-DT, senior
"I love doing the dirty work inside and opening it up for my running backs to make plays. I love blowing up plays on defense. I love the physical content. I just love it. I don’t feel like I'm unknown. The line makes the plays. We make a difference and it’s a special feeling."
TARIQ COLE, Long Beach
6-7, 370, OL-DL, senior
"I'm fine with not being the headline guy. We get the most work done of anybody on the field. When you get to hit somebody and they hit you back? Personally, I just love it. That's what competition is and I love competition. It's the best thing about football."
JAMES KRETKOWSKI, Oceanside
6-6, 290, OT-DT, senior
"That personal feeling that I get when I drove a defensive lineman 10 yards back and opened up a gap for my running back to go through or when I lay someone out and it opens up an opportunity for my wide receiver to run for a touchdown, that's enough gratification."
6-3, 295, OT-DT, senior
"I love having in the back of my mind that I'm a game-breaker and that everything I do impacts the game, positively or negatively for that matter . . . I love the hitting. Personally, I think it's the greatest thing about football."