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Cleveland trip counts for lineman

There was no question Halifax County High School linemen Jairus Marable, Darius Younger, Casey Abedeljalil, Nelson Pringle and R.J. Scott and Bluestone High School lineman Ovon Bullock were looking forward to last week’s trip to Cleveland, OH to compete in the NFL/National Guard-sponsored HSPD (High School Player Development) Lineman Challenge.

The thought of the trip and seeing the stadium and facilities used by the NFL’s Cleveland Browns football team was a big enough treat. Add in the prospect of competing against some of the top high school linemen in the country and you had a dream trip for a high school football player.

Halifax County High School’s linemen, accompanied on the trip by Comets Assistant Football Coach Corey Jackson, did much more than take in the sights and compete – they saw success.

The five Comets linemen and their counterpart from Bluestone High School, representing the Washington Redskins, placed fifth overall in the NFC Division of the HSPD Lineman Challenge.

In individual events and drills, Bullock was undefeated at 8-0 in the tire pull drill. Marable went 7-1 in the tire pull drill and placed second overall in the NFC Division in the medicine ball drill.

Younger was 6-2 in the tire pull drill and placed second in the NFC Division in the “L” drill. Abedeljalil placed second in the NFC Division in the sandbag carry, setting a record in the process.

Pringle was 5-3 in the tire pull drill and Scott posted an impressive 4.84-second time while competing in the shuttle run.

All five of the Comets linemen were pleased with the results, and they said the competition was an eye-opening experience.

“The big thing was the level of the competition,” Younger pointed out.

“This competition took us to a level of competition we had never seen before. We had never seen a medicine ball competition and some of the other competitions they had.”

Abedeljalil added, “I really enjoyed the competition and meeting all of the people we met while we were there. It was a lot of fun, but it was serious, too. I learned some new things and it provided a lot of motivation.”

Pringle said the big thing for him was “having seen better people and better competition than myself. For me, this was a big opportunity. I felt good competing against better competition.”

All of the Comets players pointed out that the competition was both gratifying and humbling.

“This let us know we did well competing against some of the elite players in the country,” Marable pointed out.

“This competition showed us we’re not doing all of the running the coaches ask us to do for nothing,” Younger pointed out.

“We saw some players that were breathing hard and were bent over trying to suck in air, people that were tired because they weren’t in the best shape they could be in. We saw why we need to do what the coaches ask us to do.”

Pringle and Scott pointed out that the competition served as a big motivator for everyone.

“There have been times when I didn’t want to run or do this or that,” Pringle admitted.

“Now, I understand a lot more about what it takes to become better.” 

“This makes me want to work harder,” Scott added.

“It (the competition) let me know I’ve got to work harder to get better.”