Conroe coach Cedric Hardeman challenged his offensive linemen two weeks ago ahead of the Tigers’ game against Klein Cain. The sentiment was simple — rise to the occasion and make an impact.
The young men in the trenches did just that as Conroe earned a 58-55 road victory over the Hurricanes. They were not done there, however. The offensive line delivered another strong performance last Friday night against Klein during a 38-13 homecoming triumph at Moorhead Stadium.
The Tigers (4-2, 3-1) have been at or near the top of District 15-6A in total yards per game all season, and while there are certainly playmakers at the skill positions — led by quarterback Christian Pack and wide receiver Michael Phoenix II — the offensive linemen have also played a huge role in that success.
“It’s a prideful group,” Hardeman said. “They’re a tight-knit group. They eat together, they’re always around each other, and they hold each other accountable. With that camaraderie, it shows on the field as well. They have each other’s backs, and they push each other to make sure they play at the highest level.”
The starting offensive line consists of five seniors who have been in the program all four years of high school — tackles Adan Pavon and Brayden Stafford, guards Dylan Jacomet and Bryan Barber, and center John Cisneros.
Collectively, they were voted as The Courier’s Players of the Week through an online poll. It marked the fourth consecutive week the Tigers have earned the honor.
The Conroe O-line garnered 32 percent of the votes, beating out Porter wide receiver Baron Bradley (25 percent) and Magnolia West quarterback Tristan Brady (22 percent).
Cisneros said the Conroe linemen carry a certain mentality with them every time they step on the field for practices or games.
“We do things the right way, the fast way and the hardest way,” the man in the middle explained. “That’s just our mentality going in. … We’ve been playing together since freshman year, all the way up to now. It’s been a great time, we’ve learned a lot about each other, and we know what’s good through everything.”
The Conroe O-line is coached by Garrett Langthorp, who played college football at Abilene Christian and Blinn, helping the latter win a JUCO national championship in 2009. Assistant head coach Taylor Cobb has also played a role in helping the unit progress through the season.
“They do a great job with those guys and getting them prepared with the game plan and just working on technique every day,” Hardeman said.
Conroe entered the game against Klein with the No. 1 offense in the district in terms of total yardage. The Tigers were averaging 484 yards per contest with a good balance — more than 1,000 yards both rushing and passing.
Hardeman said the ability to keep defenses off-balance will go a long way down the stretch of district play as the Tigers aim to secure their first playoff berth since 2012.
“Last year, there were some bumps and hills, but now we’re taking control of it this year,” Cisneros said. “The guys up front are doing good, the receivers, Christian Pack, (running back) Jahmal Jones — we all have a tight bond together, and we’re just rocking and rolling.”
The Tigers have a bye this week before returning to action against The Woodlands on Friday, Oct. 18. Conroe has not defeated the Highlanders since 2007.
Cisneros said the Tigers are focused on improving themselves each week, regardless of the next opponent on the schedule.
“We know where we need to be,” Cisneros said. “We know that this last game (against Klein) was just a little stepping stone, and we still have a lot to prove. We know we can compete with anybody.”