ention pancakes to an offensive lineman, and their faces light up like a marquee on the Las Vegas strip.
We’re not talking breakfast food here, though most, if not all linemen, probably consume them in great quantity. In this instance, we’re talking about pancake blocks, or to use another term, flatbacks, which means putting your counterpart on the defensive line on his back. It’s what linemen live for and boast about.
Carson High guard Maurilio Olivares has six of them through three weeks, and he’ll be looking to add to his total when the Senators (2-1, 0-0) host Spanish Springs (1-1, 0-0) Friday at 7 p.m. at the Jim Frank Track & Field Complex.
“The guys talk about it all the time,” the 5-10, 255-pound Olivares said. “I had three against Clayton Valley, and I had a couple last week against North Valleys. We have a competition among the offensive linemen. Josue (Orozco) might be leading now. He had a really good game last week.
“It’s a combination of power and finesse; really exploding off the ball. Last year against Damonte Ranch I had two (flatbacks) in a row. That was pretty awesome. There is no better feeling in the world.”
Olivares, who has been moving defenders back with regularity, has been a rock on the Senators’ offensive line through the first three games. He’s graded out an A or B each week.
“I feel like I’m playing really well,” Olivares said. “I don’t think I’ve had my best game yet, though. I thought we (the linemen) played well last week. It was probably our best game. We did a lot better compared to McQueen.”
Carson, thanks to a 250-yard effort by Colby Brown and a 132-yard effort by Elijah Fajayan, ran for more than 400 yards last week. Many of those yards came from Olivares and Orozco taking care of business on their side of the line.
“He and Josue work the double-team block (on the tackle) really well,” Carson coach Blair Roman said. “That is one of his strengths. Maurilio and Josue, for that matter, have improved tremendously. He was a big reason why we were able to run the ball so well on the strong side last year. He has played a lot of snaps for us the past two years. He plays with a lot of heart. He’s a good student, and he understands what we’re trying to do offensively. Normally, centers call our reads, but he can do it from the guard spot. It’s like having a coach on the field.”
Olivares admits when he made the transition to varsity, learning the position took a little time.
“Last year when I first came up, it was hard,” he said. “Eventually I got it down.
“I like to run block (more than pass block).”
That’s not an uncommon comment. On a running play, offensive linemen are dishing out the punishment. On pass plays, they are fending off pass-rushers.
And, being a 5-10 offensive lineman does have its disadvantages.
“He has good feet for his size,” Roman said. “He’s not really long. He has short legs and arms. It makes it tough on pass plays. The defender can get closer to him before there’s contact. He’s trying to get better at it, and he’d done a really good job for us.”
“I have to make sure I have good technique because I don’t have long arms,” Olivares said.
Smart players know how to make up for shortcomings, however small they may be.