By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
MANDATA -- The start of the high school football season is a little less than a month away, but its familiar sounds of the game were echoing throughout the Line Mountain High School practice field on Saturday with the first-ever Line Mountain Linemen Challenge sponsored by the Line Mountain football boosters.
Eagles line coach Brian Wetzel was the brainchild behind the event after taking his kids to other schools' events over the past few years.
"I've been wanting to have this for a few years but due mainly to conflicts, we just couldn't make it work," Wetzel said. "I spoke with our head coach, Rodney Knock, and he said that if I could organize it, it would be my baby to make happen."
Wetzel has been taking kids to these challenges since 2002. He's been a coach at Line Mountain since 2001.
"We have a blast at it and even if we don't do well, we still have a good time," he said.
Milton, Pine Grove, Newport and two teams from Line Mountain participated in 11 different events ranging from a 300-pound tire toss relay to an obstacle course and ending with a single-elimination Tug of War competition.
Milton, with 19 points, won the overall competition and the Tug of War. Points were awarded from one point for a team win to five points for fifth place.
Line Mountain No. 1 finished second with 23 points followed by Pine Grove, 26; Newport, 37; and Line Mountain No. 2, with 42.
Ryan Martin of Pine Grove was the lone individual winner of the competition, benching 185 pounds, 24 times.
The Black Panthers, who finished 7-5 overall last year, won six of the 11 events. The Line Mountain No. 1 team took a brief lead late in the competition, but Milton won three of the final four events, including the Tug of War.