DUXBURY, Mass. -- Firing out of his three-point stance for the Duxbury High football team, Dragons’ captain Grant Kramer understands the importance of what he and his offensive linemates do on every single play.
“That’s where it all starts,” said Kramer, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound left guard for the Dragons. “It’s a group of guys -- in our case a real tight-knit group of friend -- just pushing and working together to get things going on offense.”
In recent years, the Dragons have annually boasted one of the state’s premier offensive lines -- which is among the biggest reasons they haven’t lost a regular season since week two of the 2009 campaign. Most impressive about Duxbury’s offensive line success is it has graduated a number of standout linemen, including Grant’s brother Aaron (2010) whose playing at Boston College.
Gordon Acha finished 2011 as ESPN Boston's Lineman of the Year before moving on to Elon College; last year, Rob Kosharek earned a scholarship to Holy Cross. Yet still, they’ve pushed forward. Given the size, and experience, across Duxbury’s offensive line, 2013 should prove no different.
“We’ve been really lucky to reload the last few years,” said coach Dave Maimaron. “I’m not sure how Duxbury has so many of these kids, but I’m glad we do. These guys aren’t just big and strong though, they all athletic too. We’ve been blessed.”
Kramer is the biggest body, but center Rick Lippard (6-0, 240), left tackle Jack Herlihy (6-5, 255) and Matt Boyle (6-4, 250) give Duxbury plenty of road graders ready to pave the way for quarterback Sean McCarthy and running Khai Perry.
Like Maimaron, Kramer couldn’t pin down just one reason the Dragons offensive line continues to be one of the strongest points on the team.
“I know I’ve been blessed with good genes, and I’m sure the other guys would say the thing,” Kramer said. “I think it really just stems down from the great coaching Coach Maimaron gives. We get a lot of help from our running backs and quarterbacks -- those guys make us look pretty good.”
To make sure they keep winning trench battles, this year’s version of the offensive line was most often found in the offseason moving a lot of weight in the weight room.
“We all worked really hard with at the Duxbury strength and conditioning stuff,” Kramer said. “I know for me, working out mostly with Jack (Herlihy) was always fun. Having another big guy with you, we were always trying to push out an extra rep on the bench or move up in weight on squats.”
Kramer and Herlihy have positioned themselves to become the next Duxbury linemen to move on to the college ranks.
Herlihy is still taking part in the recruiting process, and has garnered some Ivy League interest for the next level. Kramer passed on scholarship offers from Villanova and Eastern Carolina, and also couldn’t be tempted by Ive League recruiters.
West Point, the Army’s officer academy, just made more sense. Kramer will either enroll at West Point or West Point Prep next fall, but he’s excited to be a Black Knight.
“I went up in July for a one-day camp, and I just feel like it’s I want to be and where I belong,” Kramer said. “I’ll be honored to serve this country after I finish school there.”
But first, Kramer will have the honor of leading Duxbury’s offensive line as the Dragons pursue a sixth straight Patriot League Keenan Division title.
DUXBURY AT A GLANCE
2012: 11-1, Lost in Div. 2 Playoffs
Coach: Dave Maimaron (Ninth season, 83-13)
Strengths: Offensive line, running back, quarterback
Key Returnees: Grant Kramer, Sr. OG, 6-4, 270 lbs; Khai Perry, Sr. RB, 5-7, 175 lbs; Sean McCarthy, Sr. QB, 6-1, 185 lbs; Jack Herilhy, Sr. OT, 6-5, 250 lbs
Outlook: The Dragons are replacing a lot on defense, including 2012 Defensive Player of the Year Marshall McCarthy. Even as Duxbury figures out personnel to take on defensive roles, the offense will be able to shoulder the load given the strength of the offensive line, as well as the return of starting QB Sean McCarthy. Khai Perry is a dynamic runner who can make plays in a variety of ways, and will ensure the Maimaron’s squad is once again a balance one. This squad likely matches last year’s 29 points per game, so if the defense does its part, Duxbury will have a chance to hoist a third Div. 2 trophy in four years.