AOTW: Mustangs’ offensive line leads charge in playoffs

Published 2:23 pm Thursday, November 16, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The Isabella High School offensive line are this week’s athletes of the week after their performance on Nov. 9 against St. Luke’s Episcopal School.

In the first round of the AHSAA Class 2A state playoffs, Isabella was forced to go on the road to keep their season alive. Not only did they keep it alive, the Mustangs made a statement with a resounding 44-17 win that saw them throw the ball only two times the entire game.

Isabella head coach Tate Leonard said the game plan going into the game on both sides of the ball was thrown out quickly after St. Luke’s came out doing some different things they had not prepared for. In response, the Mustangs reverted to its jumbo package, and freshman Colten Leonard, sophomores Aidan Gray and Lane Mims, junior Colton Conway and seniors Bucky Smith and Owen Littleton dominated the remainder of the game.

“Once we had a sense in a certain package, we kept it going,” Tate Leonard said. “Our jumbo package was working well, and they really could not stop us, so we stayed in it all night long.”

The Mustangs have had to plug and play at multiple different spots on the offensive line this year battling injuries, but the unit is coming together at the best possible time down the stretch in the playoffs.

“This (offensive line) group is getting better every day, and they have come so far since the start of the season with injuries,” Tate Leonard said. “We have some new kids on the line now to fill in for some injuries, and they are really starting to come together. They come to work every day, listen to coaching, study film and work hard. When you do that, good things happen, and those older guys on the line have helped the younger guys get ready.”


Honorable mention: Grayson McManus, Thorsby High School

Thorsby High School junior quarterback Grayson McManus accounted for three touchdowns in the Rebels record-setting 50-16 win over Chickasaw High School on Nov. 9. McManus was 6-for-10 passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and added a touchdown on the ground on five carries for 53 yards.

McManus accounted for 212 of the 413 total yards the Rebels raked in during its first playoff win since the 2017 season, setting the school playoff scoring record in the process.