Rising 8th-grader crowned champion
Breathitt hosted ‘Big Man Challenge’
‘It went smoothly…players got in some good work…’ Coach Jeremy Moore
June 10, 2021 some folks around Jackson might have noticed activity coming from the Mike Holcomb Athletic Complex on the campus of Breathitt High School. BMS football coach Kenneth “Shorty” Combs was hosting Belfry Middle School, Hazard Middle School, and Pike County Central Middle School in a round-robin Seven on Seven, passing league tournament.
This particular event was a little different from the many passing league games Breathitt has hosted through the years. This one had a “Big Man Challenge.”
"Passing League," called “Sevens” throughout the Kentucky football playing world, is an effective way to install your passing offense and defensive coverages in expectation of “putting it all together” once the season arrives. If Sevens has a flaw, it usually doesn’t involve players outside the "Skills," except the offensive center. Your other "Bigs" don't get many opportunities to get offseason/summer work.
Some locations have begun hosting “Big Man Challenges” to alleviate the linemen being overlooked at this time of year. Breathitt decided to toss its hat into the ring.
Coach Jeremy Moore hosted a Big Man Challenge designed to, at the end of the day, crown a “King of the Trenches.” The linemen from the four schools would compete in a variety of events testing strength, power, explosion, agility and speed.
Competitor’s would participate in a bench-press competition measuring the number of reps one could press at 115-pounds which is the middle school rep-weight. Participants competed in something called a “Farmer’s walk,” which required the participant to carry 70-pound dumbbells, one in each arm (or 140-pounds total) for distance.
Other events required a player to toss a 12-pound medicine ball for distance and compete in some “more traditional” combine fare measuring skills other than raw strength and power. There was a shuttle run for time, a figure-eight pass-rush hoop drill for time, and a blocking obstacle course for time. The obstacle course featured a drive sled and a tire-flip. The tire weighed 250-pounds.
At the end of the day, Sawyer Hall, a player who will be an 8th-grader in ’21, stood alone among the 32-linemen competing as the “King of the Trenches.” Hall was number-one among all the competitors in three of the six events.
Hall repped the 115-pounds on the bench press twenty-eight (28)-times. No one else did better than fourteen (14).
Hall tossed the 12-pound Medicine Ball fourteen (14)-yards. Hall finished the obstacle course with the 250-pound “tire flip” in 18.85-seconds. No other competitor finished under 20-seconds.
Hall finished the pass-rush, figure-eight drill in 6.67-seconds for a top-three finish there, was second in the Farmer’s walk at 115-yards, and was among the fastest among the linemen in the 5-10-5 shuttle; though none of those times were what they would have been if completed on less slippery field conditions.
Each of the four schools had a “Champion” anointed. The “Champion” was the highest point-totaler from each of the four. They pulled against each other in a tug-o-war to crown the “King of the Trenches.”
Yessir, Sawyer Hall won that too. No sir, it wasn’t much of a contest.
We asked Coach Jeremy Moore for his thoughts. He told the Times-Voice, “I was extremely pleased with the event and thankful to the area coaches and players for all the help. This is the first lineman challenge this county has ever hosted and, considering, I feel it went smoothly and the players got in some really good work.”
When we asked him to characterize Hall’s performance he had a single word for us. “Dominant,” was that word.
What do you know? We must have watched the same competition.