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Terriers' offensive success starts up front


When Vandebilt Catholic's offense is on the football field, most eyes in the stadium are usually focused on the No. 15 jersey of Terriers standout quarterback Elijah McGuire.

The senior speedster has rushed for 2,473 total yards and 29 touchdowns this season, which includes 10 regular season games and two Class 4A playoff contests.

McGuire has thrilled area football fans with his amazing talents on the field this season, but he is quick to point out that none of it would be possible without the efforts of his starting five offensive linemen up front.

McGuire said Vandebilt senior center Chase Doiron, senior right guard Ryan Bourg, senior left guard Joseph Breerwood, junior right tackle Tyler Bourque and junior left tackle Blake Bowie are just as important to the offense as he is.

"They are very special on the football field to me," McGuire said. "Without those guys, I don't think I would make anything. I tip my hats off to them because they do a great job of blocking. When they make those holes, they make it easier for me to operate. I just appreciate it and love those guys."

Vandebilt coach Brad Villavaso said the Terriers' offensive linemen don't receive a lot of accolades or attention like the skill position guys, but their coaches and teammates appreciate their value.

"Everything starts up front with the o-line," Villavaso said. "They are the guys that make things go. They know how important they are to this football team. They know everything starts with them and ends with them. I've just loved watching how much they've improved all year long."

Villavaso said the Terriers' offensive line, which has an average weight of 239 pounds per player, doesn't have biggest, fastest or strongest players, but he said they know how to get the job done.

"This offensive line has probably pancaked more defensive players than I could ever remember as a football coach," Villavaso said. "They do some good things, and they do it with not as much talent as the defensive guys in front of them. Those guys just play hard."

Bowie said the offensive linemen take pride in blocking for McGuire, who is the state's top runner this season.

"Every time Elijah has a big game, it makes us feel real good," Bowie said. "It makes us feel like we're doing our jobs. It's cool to have a player like that on our team. When he's doing good, we are all doing good."

Doiron said every member of the Terriers' offensive line prefers working together as a unit over getting personal recognition.

"We're not in it for the glory," said Doiron, who missed his entire junior season with a knee injury. "We're in it for the wins and for the team. It's not really about us. As long as we keep winning, that's all that matters."

Bourque said the best thing about being a member of Vandebilt's offensive line, which is led by first-year Terriers assistant coach Tommy Boudreaux, is doing all the dirty work up front against big competition.

"We try to be extra physical because we're smaller," Bourque said. "We've got to really get low and fire off the ball as hard as we can. We know our opponents are going to have some big dudes on the line, but if we give it our all, I think we can handle it."

The offensive line's ability to create running lanes for McGuire paid off in Vandebit's 20-15 regional playoff win over Franklin Parish last week.

Trailing 15-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Terriers went on a 20-play, 92-yard drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock, capping it with McGuire's game-winning 6-yard touchdown run with 2:01 left.

Bourg said the Terriers knew they had a big mountain to climb when the drive started, but they were motivated to get the job done.

"All I kept thinking was get first downs and keep moving closer," Bourg said. "As we started moving the ball and got past the 50, we knew we were going to score. I had my eyes on Eli. When I saw him cross the goal line, I turned around and saw the entire stadium celebrate. It was the most amazing feeling."

Breerwood said sharing that victorious moment with his teammates was something he'll never forget, especially since he almost missed it.

Breerwood's older brother Craig was getting married in Pittsburgh on the night Vandebilt played Franklin Parish. After talking it over with his brother and other family members, he decided to skip the wedding to play with his teammates.

"My brother understood and told me he would much rather play in the playoffs than go to a wedding because he never got the chance to go deep in the playoffs," Breerwood said. "He knows this is my senior year, and this is my last chance to play football. I've been working with these guys for five years. I'm family with them. I didn't want to let them down in the playoffs."

Now the No. 8 Terriers will try to go even farther in the Class 4A playoffs when they travel to Monroe for a quarterfinal game against No. 1 Neville.

Whether they win or lose on Friday, Bourg said it has been an incredible season, and he expects the Terriers to fight hard until the end.

"Making it this far is really amazing," Bourg said. "I'm just cherishing these moments so I can remember it for the rest of my life. Hopefully we have another three games to cherish. We're going to give it our best shot."