25 Dec
2019

Lancaster line is big-time

first_img Lancaster’s success this season seems directly tied to the performance of its defensive line. In the Eagles’ six victories, they have yielded an average of just 8.6 points a game. In their two losses, foes put 54 points on the scoreboard. Lancaster is home against Antelope Valley tonight at 7 in a game that likely will be decided on the ground. Antelope Valley’s offense features senior running backs Andre Crenshaw and Darius Roberts. The winner will have the inside track to the Golden League title. “If a guy is bigger than you, you just have to stay low and not let him get his hands on you,” Dilger said. “Antelope Valley has got a real big line, so this will be a good challenge.” Dilger, the second cousin of former Colts tight end Ken Dilger, said Lancaster’s defensive lines succeeds because of its strength and speed. Drakes and Dilger are the strongest players on the team, likely the entire Golden League. Both squat 500 pounds and bench 320 pounds. They train together in the summer, five days a week for three hours at a local fitness club. “I’m the quiet one,” Drakes said. “Paul, when he goes to the gym, he turns into this weightlifter guy who yells when he’s lifting really heavy. … We didn’t have summer jobs this year, so we pretty much worked out every day.” Ross can’t lift the same weight as Dilger and Drakes, but he’s working on that. Would he like to gain weight? “No, not really,” Ross said. “I want to get stronger, but I only want to put on muscle. I’m fine with how I am.” Ramona Shelburne, (818) 713-3617 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Nathan Drakes arrived at Lancaster High four years ago as a promising freshman. He was 14 and stood 6-foot, 250 pounds. His strong frame suggested he could add more weight. He seemed a perfect defensive line prospect, provided he kept growing. Instead, he’s done the opposite. As a senior, Drakes weighs 220 pounds. And he’s a better player because of it. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “I’ve been smaller than most of the guys I play against my whole high school career – it’s nothing new,” said Drakes, a first-team All-Golden League and All-Southern Section Div. III pick last year. “I was bigger as a freshman than I am now, but I was kind of chunky. I’m much stronger now.” Drakes isn’t the only undersized player on Lancaster’s defensive line. He’s one of the bigger ones. Nose guard Paul Dilger is 5-9, 265 pounds. Tackle Chris Ross is 6-2, 250 pounds. When they trot onto the field, they easily could be mistaken for linebackers. “We’re way smaller than other teams,” said Ross, a junior. “I think just about every team we’ve played has a bigger line than we do. But it doesn’t matter as long as we get the job done.” last_img

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