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Big offensive linemen key to MacArthur’s 3-0 start

Anyone who witnessed MacArthur's wins over Lawton High and Eisenhower on recent back-to-back weeks had to be impressed with the Highlanders offensive line, but it wasn't always that easy for three key members of that unit.

When Colton Gilpen, Anthony Torres and Zach Reta were sophomores they were much lighter, not nearly as strong and still learning the complex MacArthur offense. They were faced with two choices, stay the same and just get along, or work hard and become better players.

As the last two weeks will attest, they clearly chose the latter path and now the trio of three-year starters, along with two-year starters junior TJ Fiailoa and senior Jordan Limon combine to form a vital part of the 2014 Mac football team, the offensive line.

"Let me tell you, three years ago when those three were sophomore they took their lumps," Mac offensive line coach Ernie Manning said. "They got overwhelmed at times but they were persistent and took it upon themselves to get bigger, stronger and learn as much about the game as possible.

"Now all that work is paying off for our football team. These first three weeks those guys have helped us move the football against some strong defenses; they've done just what I expected of them."

One asset all three had when they came up from Mac Middle School was they were all smart kids and that in turn leads to smart football players.

"They are all sharp kids, they hear something one time and that's enough," Manning said. "They absorb everything we throw at them. Having experience up there allows us to do so much more offensively because they understand the offense and why we do things a certain way."

When the trio sat down to visit Tuesday, the obvious first question was simple, just how much did they all grow?

The Lawton Constitution

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