Dependable offensive tackle leads by example for Freeport
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Freeport ball carriers who want bundles of rushing yards this football season should stay close behind the soft-spoken, slimmed-down blocker at right tackle.
Surrounded by teammates with few varsity starts and even fewer accolades, senior offensive lineman Nathan Rummel is a bit of a star. And the 6-foot-2, 270-pounder, a first-team All-Allegheny Conference selection the past two seasons, shed weight and improved his speed in order to move people better for the Yellowjackets, who despite a 40-14 loss to Kittanning in the season opener hope to claim at least a share of the conference title for the third consecutive year.
“I wanted to get faster and have more endurance, too,” said Rummel, who played at 280 pounds as a sophomore and 295 as a junior. “I'm not worried about any strength loss. I've still got all of that.”
Strength, particularly the amount he possessed in his legs, caught his coaches' eyes two years ago. Rummel, who plays only offense, entered the starting lineup at a time when upperclassmen on the offensive line abounded, so he followed the guidance of seniors Jon Turner and Alex and Sean Carson.
As a junior, Rummel moved closer to the center of attention. But Brian Welsh and Shane McKillop saved him the obligation to energize the line.
“He's somebody who goes out there and does his job,” said senior Cam Kelley, Freeport's only returning full-time defensive starter. “He's not going to sit there and yell at the kid next to him, unless the kid ticks him off somehow.”
Freeport's rushing attack flourished in 2011 and 2012: It gained 2,096 yards and 2,366 yards, respectively.
Those other players on the line are gone. Rummel is the only full-time returning offensive starter and one of the team's eight seniors.
“I'm used to having to look up to the other guys,” he said. “Now I've got people looking up to me. … I'm definitely not usually a leader. It's something I've had to wrap my head around, for sure.”
Coach John Gaillot expects Rummel to remain just as strong, quiet and well-mannered as he did the past two seasons. Rummel does not need to become the Yellowjackets' rah-rah leader, nor is he likely to become such a figure. All Gaillot has asked of his senior standout lineman is to show the younger players how to act.
“He leads by example,” Gaillot said. “There's no one here who really leads by voice. They'll motivate each other, but no one is going to stand up and give a speech like Knute Rockne or anything.
“We've changed some things. We're even more demanding than we've ever been, just because we're so young. And they've responded very well.”
No member of the coaching staff asked Rummel to lose weight. The senior made that decision during the offseason. With teammates in tow, he hit the track several times a week and ran for miles. He also cut back his food consumption.
“This year, I'm probably even more impressed than in the past two,” Gaillot said. “He's quicker. He looks more dominant. He's just a lot stronger than he was. He really committed to getting himself in shape.
“We just expect him to turn loose and truly dominate. And he expects that, too — just dominate whoever is across from him.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WPIAL’s Top 10 football champions of all time
- Hampton to face Ringold in Class AAA quarterfinal
- Gorman: Best WPIAL champion ever a matter of the heart
- Gorman: Palko perfect for West Allegheny
- Aliquippa quarterback Fields ready when number is called
- Central Catholic wildcat Petrishen wild card in game vs. Pine-Richland
- HS highlight reel: Southmoreland wrestler ineligible
- Monessen places four on Eastern’s Second Team
- Pine-Richland tops defending champ Central Catholic to capture WPIAL title
- Central Valley beats rival West Allegheny to win WPIAL Class AAA championship
- WPIAL Class AA notebook: South Fayette’s Brumbaugh closes in on state passing record