Dynamic Buster offense begins with trio of southwest Kansans
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
The old football adage says the best way to build a football team is from the inside out. Smack dab in the middle of that theory are the guards and center on an offensive line.
That's what makes local products Mitch Moore, Jason Carreon and Colby Hamel so special. Even with the plethora of outstanding out-of-state offensive stars surrounding the O-line, the 12th-ranked Garden City Community College Broncbusters begin with three southwest Kansas players.
The trio are used to not getting any recognition or accolades. It's the life of an offensive lineman — do all the heavy lifting but are always in the background of every photo showing All-American running back Tyreek Hill race through a small SUV-size hole in the defense — a hole the "big uglies" up front created. They don't mind, though. They've become accustomed to it.
"I've found the offensive line is a real prideful position," said Moore, a former Garden City High School lineman. "I mean, you got the pride to go out there every day knowing you're not going to get the recognition but you do it anyways because it's team first."
Hamel, a 2011 Lakin High School graduate, agreed, "It's all about getting the W's. It's frustrating sometimes but at the end of the day, it's us doing all the work. They've (skill positions) just got to run through all the holes."
And the line sure is proficient at creating a few holes and keeping the pocket clean for quarterback Akeem Jones.
The Busters' offense is averaging 51 points per game in their two contests, fourth best in the nation. They're also fifth in rushing yards per game and are in the top 20 in passing yards. And it all starts up front with Carreon, Moore and Hamel, as well as tackles Dontavious Blair and Ryan Johnson.
"We all know deep in our hearts that we're the key to winning these ball games," said Carreon, who played with Moore at GCHS in 2011 before graduating and starting at left guard last season for the Busters.
Carreon moved over to center as the lone returner on the line and Moore moved in to the vacated left guard spot for this season. Hamel played at Hutchinson last year before transferring to Garden City.
Now, the trio are the only southwest Kansas starters on Garden City. With the new out-of-state limit increased from 12 to 20, starting spots for in-state kids are getting harder and harder to ascertain, let alone for players the from smaller schools.
"Coming from a small school, I feel like I got to represent more," said Class 3A Lakin's Hamel.
And being able to represent Kansas gives Moore and Carreon the same viewpoint.
"I think you do have a chip on your shoulder," said Moore. "Even me, coming from a 6A school, you know we've got 2,000 kids at our school but these (out-of-state) guys come in from 6,000 (student schools). Some of them come in and expect to start over small town guys just because the type of football they play in a big city. It makes you work a little bit harder, compete better."
No one's outworking these three, all of whom offensive line coach Merci Falaise said have done everything he's asked and more, perhaps making the Busters' line the best in the conference. Blair is one of the top junior college line prospects in the country, with offers from more than a dozen schools. Johnson will be receiving offers soon and Hamel isn't too far behind after being contacted by Kansas and Kansas State, as well as Western Illinois and Southeast Missouri.
Carreon is hoping to find a place to play after his sophomore year is over. His well-above 3.0 GPA might help with that. Moore is the lone freshman on the line, giving him time to develop into just as valuable an asset.
Yet, recruiting is not their priority.
"Right now, my focus is winning the Jayhawk Conference," said Hamel, who looked at his hand as though he could already feel a conference championship ring on his finger.
With these three up front, the Busters have that chance.
Sports Reporter Levi Burnfin can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org