Red Stick Bowl: Black Knights offensive linemen complete package _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- New Live Oak coach Brett Beard during a 2014 game while a coach at Woodlawn High School.

Knowledge, precision and power make a lethal combination for an offensive line.

After two days of practice, Black Knights head coach Brett Beard of Woodlawn and offensive line coach Gabe Fertitta of Catholic said their line has all three of those skills.

“We got some kids that can flat-out play,” Beard said. “We got some that are pretty good kids. Great size. Powerful. When we see our kids up front, I definitely think powerful. That’s what I’m seeing so far.”

The average weight for a Black Knights offensive lineman is 278 pounds, while the average Rough Riders defensive lineman is 253 pounds. The Black Knights and the Rough Riders will go head-to-head in the U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22.

Highlighting the Black Knights’ offensive line is Louisiana-Lafayette commitment Marcus Keyes of Port Allen and Sam Hargrave of East Ascension.

The other offensive linemen are Catholic’s Zach Minton, Episcopal’s Jacob Poelding, Tara’s Al Wilson, Southern Lab’s Trevas Samuel, East Ascension’s Ryan Keller and Plaquemine’s Kenny Dotson.

This all-star game features top seniors in the Baton Rouge area at each position. Beard looks forward to seeing the “best of the best” play for the same team for one afternoon.

“It’s going to be fun to watch them work together and learn to play together,” Beard said. “Our offensive line is just some big ol’ boys who I think can give a little push. We just have to get them on the same page and playing hard. They can just get it.”

Beard also praised Fertitta’s energy and enthusiasm. During Tuesday’s practice, Fertitta ran onto the field and tapped each lineman on the helmet after the line successfully ran a play that opened a hole for their running back. Fertitta said he’s impressed with the players ability to learn new plays and work as a unit ahead of Sunday’s game.

“One of the hardest things for an all-star game is to get a group of five offensive linemen to work together on some plays that maybe haven’t run before,” Fertitta said. “I’ve been super impressed with these guys ability to pick up what we’re asking them to do technique-wise and scheme-wise and their ability to do it once they know what to do. We’re really excited about it. There are some really great kids in that group.”

Fertitta said each lineman is coachable and he enjoys working them, but he said isn’t surprised by the talent of these offensive linemen.

“Baton Rouge has some great players,” Fertitta said. “Anytime you say we’re going to get the best that the Baton Rouge area has, you’re going to get some really good players because they’ve been coached well, and they’re good players.”