Glue in offensive line

Q & A David Klotz, Wilde Lake, Football

October 03, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Sun reporter

Wilde Lake senior center David Klotz has it down pat these days: Call the signals, get a clean snap to the quarterback and then burst ahead.

It wasn't always so routine. After playing guard his first season of football in eighth grade, Klotz went to his first practice at Wilde Lake as a freshman, and his junior varsity coach asked him if he could snap. "I said: `Sure, I can do that,' " said Klotz, who is starting his third season on varsity. The first game, with a big nose guard lined up opposite him, he was so nervous he snapped the ball early and was called for a penalty. This season, Klotz - 6 feet 3, 235 pounds - is the glue to a dominating offensive line that has helped the Wildecats to a 4-0 record with 15 rushing touchdowns.

Klotz, who has a weighted 3.93 grade point average, throws the discus for the outdoor track and field team. He also earned a black belt in karate over the summer. Klotz enjoys working at youth football camps at Wilde Lake during the summer, and he is a karate instructor. He said he is undecided on a college but wants to become a pharmacist or a teacher.

What are some of the responsibilities that come with playing the center position?

I don't really pull as much as the other linemen, but I have to worry about snapping the ball and then blocking. That's one more second I have to wait before I can go hit somebody. And, of course, it's interesting when I have a big guy on the nose. I'm like: "Oh, no, I have to worry about snapping and then hitting this guy. But it's great because people rely on you to know all the plays and help out because you're the center.

What are the keys to a successful offensive line?

Definitely the biggest thing to have is playing experience with each other. If you know what the player next to you is going to do, you'll have a good line. You need to know what the other guys are thinking, know they're mentality, and also being able to communicate in the huddle brings cohesiveness. If anyone has a question, we should be able to answer it right away and know what to do.

What's the feeling like when you're dominating the line of scrimmage?

You just feel like you're taking it to them, and the trenches are yours. When you're just busting down on them winning the battles over and over again - it's a great feeling. Even though we don't get the glory, we kind of do because the coaches know, "OK, the reason Ashton [Hayes] got through that hole is because that hole was there." So it's just a good feeling. The running backs definitely know it, too. After the game, they're always like: "Hey, thanks for blocking for me today."

Have any of the running backs rewarded you big guys for all your hard work?

I haven't seen it yet this year, but I think they might. Last year, they brought some doughnuts in for us. After each game, we have Saturday morning practices to go over tape and talk about what we need to work on for the next week. One time, we came up and there was two boxes of doughnuts for us. We were like: "OK!"

How does the tradition at Wilde Lake affect the team?

It's definitely a big motivator. We always hear about the great teams at Wilde Lake. We go upstairs and see all the trophies, all the photos, and see people with their rings on. We just really want to be there again. We just want to come out and show everyone that we can play, and [that] we know what hard work is.

Do you have any stories from the trenches?

My sophomore year, we were playing against Glenelg, and the snap was fumbled and the ball was right by my ankle. I'm reaching down for it, and the pile comes down on my ankle. Someone grabbed the ball and my ankle at the same time and just twisted. I was out for like three plays, got taped up and then played on a sprained ankle the rest of the game.

How do you feel the day after a physical game?

Definitely the physical feeling - you wake up and you're so sore. But it depends on whether you win or lose. If you win that game, it feels like you've overcome something, you climbed that hill and got over it. It just feels like all that hard work paid off. But at the same time, you have to go back and do the same exact thing for the next week. It's just a great feeling when you spent it all on the field and can say I didn't hold anything back.

What was it like getting your black belt this summer?

It just shows you that practice and hard work gets you somewhere. In karate, there's no real easy class - it's always hard. I always go against other black belts. I'm always sweating, I'm always tired. You get hurt, but you have to work through the pain. That dedication, that hard work shows you that in life, when you put those things to it, you can get somewhere.

What satisfaction do you get working with children?

It's just fun. I enjoy teaching kids. I just love teaching people - any ages - what I know. I get a sense I'm doing something good for the kids. I'm showing them that you have to be open-minded and learn, and that you can actually get good at something. Just showing them that hard work is never a bad thing.

When you're off to college next year and come home, what is the first thing you'll ask your mother to cook?

My mom makes this thing called San Francisco stew that's so good. It's like beans, beef, bacon, onions - all this stuff stewed up - there's brown sugar in it. I know nobody else makes it because she learned to make it from my grandmother.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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