Wylie East returns several key players on the offensive line, as they hope to see improved play in 2023.
Head coach Marcus Gold held workouts during the spring football season, with the aim to improve on the offensive line for the upcoming year. With new faces in the starting lineup, it’ll be key to the team’s success as they hope to repeat as district champions.
“I don’t like to do spring workouts usually, but I only do it when we need work on the line of scrimmage,” Gold said. “With the skill guys work with 7-on-7, you can catch a lot of those guys up in the summer, but we really needed spring to be more physical to help our guys on the line out more this season.”
With those workouts out of the way, Wylie East boasts what they feel could be a strong offensive line next season, even if it is less experienced.
“We bring back some experience and some not so experienced, but I think we’re more talented and more athletic than we have been in the past,” Gold said. “So we’re expecting a step up in an area I didn’t think we played that well in last season.”
Leading the way as the top starter this season is Clark Pierson, one of the bright spots on the Wylie East offensive line last year. The starting left tackle is one of the biggest and strongest kids in the program and provides the anchor at the end of the line of scrimmage.
“He got playing time each of the last two years and he’s a monster now for us,” Gold said. “He’s 6-foot-4, well over 300 pounds and we challenged him this offseason to get a little more athletic for us to improve at the tackle spot. He’s done that and was voted captain of the team this season. Kids like him and gravitate toward him as a leader of the offense.”
Pierson has always had the personality of a player who could be a team captain, but now has the experience to match it on the field. With his talent and ability, he’s the key to a successful Wylie East offense that replaces several skill position players as well.
“We don’t always bring back everybody and that’s just the way it is at 6A high school football,” Gold said. “Those guys have to develop and sometimes it takes time and we have to get those new kids ready every year. All the little things that Clark does will prepare the other guys for Friday nights.”
Pierson’s leadership skills will be tested this season as he leads a young Wylie East offensive line featuring several new starters. Jordan Grogen embodies that youth as he takes over as the new starting center for the Raiders, spending some time on both varsity and junior varsity last season. He’s one of the smartest players on the team, and the team is excited for the next three years he’ll spend as the varsity starter heading into his sophomore season.
“He’s done a really good job and he’s had to make a lot of calls for us at the line of scrimmage,” Gold said. “He was a really good player as a freshman and it was a no-brainer in spring where we told him he was going to be the starter and he wasn’t going to earn it.”
Among other players on the line, Daniel Oparah takes over as a sophomore starter, while Daniel Marquez will also get some reps on the offensive line that stands about five deep heading into the season. While the team is unsure about the depth, they like the talent they have and health will be key for the season.
“We think all of the guys that play will be good, but they have to stay healthy,” Gold said. “We struggled on the offensive line at times last season and I think we’re going to be good this season once all of these guys get ready for the season.”
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