PROSSER — Listen closely when the Prosser offensive line breaks its huddle and you will hear a curious shout.
The Mustangs linemen all seven of them have embraced a blast from the past this season. A motto, if you will.
To be a starter on the line, you either have to be fat or nasty, said senior Tyler Renollet, who is 6-foot-1, 288 pounds. You can be both in my opinion. Were a pretty tough group.
The saying was coined in the mid-1990s by Pat Zuniga, who was an undersized right guard on the 1995 Prosser state finalist team that lost to ODea High in Seattle.
The motto died out after that year, but head coach Benji Sonnichsen, who also was on the 95 team, helped bring it back in recent years and this years squad jumped all over it, even making T-shirts with the saying.
To be a good player, you have to have the smarts, said sophomore Colten Alefteras, who is 5-11, 225, but the job is a little easier if you are fat and nasty.
When polled, the Mustangs linemen answered nearly universally that they have both characteristics, which might be why theyve had such a strong season.
Thats us, said sophomore Wyatt Tolle, 6-0, 203. Were all pretty quick and strong, and can dominate defensive lines.
Prosser travels to Pullman at 7 p.m. today in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs.
This years group of linemen is a bit of a patchwork group, as it has dealt with injuries, but also seen strong play from a pair of sophomores and a freshman.
Part of that is the bond they have built, despite the age differences.
I think our unity and friendship is our strength, said senior Caleb Aaberg, 6-0, 175. I know it sounds corny, but we get along and that transfers onto the field.
When we communicate, we do a great job.
Aaberg is a perfect example of how the group constantly is working together, inside and outside of practice.
The right tackle sprained his MCL the week of the Ellensburg game, but worked with his replacement Tolle to help him get ready to start.
Its been great watching him grow this year, Aaberg said of Tolle. Hes stepping up real big. Its incredible.
The group has helped block for one of the best quarterbacks in the state in Ryan Fassler, who has thrown for 2,250 yards this season. Running back Bubba Frank has rushed for 910 yards, and is over 1,000 in all-purpose yards.
Were pretty aggressive, said senior Alex Howe, who is 6-0, 206 pounds. Weve only given up three sacks this year. The last few weeks of the season, weve been showing were pretty even (between passing and rushing). I think it surprises people.
While the Prosser coaching staff is pleased with the play of its line, the group hasnt gotten much recognition elsewhere.
After a one-loss regular season, the Mustangs didnt have anyone earn first-team all league from the group.
A slight that has not gone overlooked.
Im a little pissed off, Alefteras said. Were going into the playoffs with a chip on our shoulder. We want to show the league they were wrong and we are the best.
The Mustangs face Pullman tonight, in a game a that could be affected by snow. Field conditions, and the nature of playoff football mean the line will need to get a big push early to establish the running game.
We like running the ball, said senior Robert Lemos, 6-3, 225 pounds. Our O-line likes to run over people.
And they plan on using their big nasty weight and demeanor to do just that.