Veteran Sabers anchor the offensive line

When you’ve invested as much time and energy to a specific craft, say in this case offensive line play, senior year takes on a whole new meaning.

Souhegan’s Ries Grondstra and Vincent Bowman each have realized this could be it. The Sabers’ returning starting center and left tackle took the offseason to heart.

“They’ve been here, working hard right through the summer,” said Souhegan coach Robin Bowkett.

And why wouldn’t they?

“I’ve been playing tackle football since the first grade,” said Grondstra. “I hit the weight room as much as I could, and I pushed myself there, trying to get myself into peak condition. I know it’s my last season, and I want to be in the best shape that I can.”

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Bowman was equally as diligent.

“I hit the weight room every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and went to the basketball workouts Monday and Tuesday, too,” said the three-sporter. “It helps with the cardio and my footwork.”

Both Grondstra and Bowman start inside defensively as well as on the offense. But it is when Souhegan has the football that they will be asked to deliver, not just individually but as a unit.

Everything starts with Grondstra, who has been snapping the football since the mighty mites in

grade 3.

“We have equal responsibilities on the offensive line,” he said. “But being a center and a captain, I put more on myself, to make sure all my linemen are doing their job correctly.”

“I’ve been a left tackle since third grade, I’m used to it,” said Bowman. “I like the challenges on the offensive line. You have to think on your feet, act quickly. I feel like we are learning to play with each other.

Working in a pair of sophomores on the line, Mike Maroun and Alex Karpawich, along with senior Matt Safarcz, the Sabers continue to move along.

“We held our own against a very good Division I team in Goffstown at camp,” said Bowman, who is looking at UNH among other colleges after this year. That gave us a lot of confidence.”

The Sabers are hoping for a big year in Division II South, which could be anyone’s ball game.

“It’s wide open,” said Bowman, “and our goal is get to Durham.”

For Souhegan, it all starts up front.