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Struthers Athletics

Struthers linemen pave the way for a 2-0 start

The first thing you need to know about the Struthers High offensive line is that it pretty much shatters the stereotype which has existed since the days of leather helmets.

You know, the stereotype which suggests that offensive linemen possess more brawn than brains. Sure, these guys are big, but their combined grade-point average of 3.6 also carries plenty of weight.
There is also a widely regarded belief that a lineman can get by on size alone. Struthers coach Curt Kuntz is quick to put such an idea to rest.

“Playing on the offensive line is 80 percent, ‘Want to’” Kuntz said. “Yeah, the size helps. But if you don’t have the motivation and commitment, you won’t last very long up front.”

As for the notion that the guys in the trenches play in anonymity while the skilled players get all the glory? Attend a Struthers game, and you will quickly discover that the spotlight is shining bright on the group of players affectionately known around town as “The Hogs.”

They are: Senior right tackle Adam Sedzmak (6-foot-5, 305 pounds), senior right guard Tim McIntee (6-1, 265), senior left guard Christian Carson (6-4, 320) junior left tackle Jimmy Stefanski (6-2, 285) and junior center A.J. Iarussi (6-2, 285).

They are big, they are bright and they are quickly becoming household names in Struthers.

“Any recognition they get, it is well-deserved,” Kuntz said. “This is a very unique group, not just because of their collective size but because of what they put into making themselves great players. The Struthers community has every right to be proud of this group of young men.”

Thanks in large part to the play of its offensive line, Struthers is off to a 2-0 start. The Wildcats beat Liberty 42-12 in their season opener. They then equaled that offensive output in a 42-14 win over Toledo Scott.

“We’re having a lot of fun, but we’re also working really hard to get to where we want to be,” Sedzmak said. “It’s pretty neat that people around town are starting to notice who we are. But really all we want to do is win games.”

Sedzmak, who didn’t begin playing football until his junior year, credits his coaches “who taught me the game, and who taught me how to use my size.” Like Kuntz, Sedzmak believes that size is just a small factor when it comes to developing a good lineman.

“If you’re big and out of shape, you’re going to constantly get beat,” Sedzmak said. “And you better be a smart player who knows the game and knows the tendencies of the defense. Our entire line, we study the game and we have unparallelled communication during games. I think that’s the key to what we do.”
Carson — known by many as Big Papi and The Big Red Cat — certainly knows the importance of working to use his weight to his advantage. In fact, while the other four linemen worked during the off-season to add weight and muscle, Carson was busy shedding roughly 30 pounds.

“All summer long, I’d run the treadmill, lift, get back on the treadmill, eat right,” Carson said. “I always had the size. But I realized that being quicker, having better footwork, having more agility, it would all make me a better all-around player. Lifting weights and then going and eating a ton of cheeseburgers wasn’t getting it done.”

While he was in grade school, Carson was denied playing football because his size posed a threat to the opposition. When he did begin playing, it was on teams which were a level or two above his age group.

“I just always wanted a chance to play,” Carson said. “Now, I’m playing with a group of guys who are like brothers to me. I want to do whatever I can to make this the best year ever.”

McIntee, a three-year starter, also plays on the defensive line. Though his size is imposing by typical high school standards, he is the “little man” among his unit.

“It’s kind of crazy that we all grew up in this system at the same time and we’re all able to play together for the same team,” McIntee said. “I remember a few years ago we realized that our size could make us a special group. And we all kind of made a commitment to not let the size go to waste. We all vowed we were going to put in whatever work it took in order to be successful.”

**This article was written by Vindicator Sports Writer Steve Ruman. To read the full article, click here.

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The Struthers City School District in cooperation with family and a community founded on tradition, recognize our role as a catalyst for change to enhance student achievement and develop good character as we create appropriate academic, technological, and vocational opportunities for all students.

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