Lineman playing well for Cougars
Published on -10/10/2012, 10:28 AM
By CONOR NICHOLL
OTIS -- Otis-Bison High School senior lineman Tyler Maier has always been behind talented players. As a sophomore, Maier had to play behind Josh Krom, Robert Kolas and Dominic Trapp, a trio who helped the Cougars advance to the state championship game. Last year, Maier was the backup to Dominic Manley on a 10-2 team.
"I just supported them, and whenever I got my chance, it was my time to shine," Maier said.
Coach Travis Starr wanted to get Maier on the field more in 2011, but couldn't.
"It took him a little longer to develop," Starr said. "He has gotten in the weight room, and he has worked extremely hard and he has become a lot better athlete than what he has been."
"I was kicking myself last year after games," Starr added. "You get in the moment and you don't want to change anything, but after games, you were like, 'Tyler Maier needed to be in the ball game.'"
This season, Maier has taken a starting role and played well the Cougars, ranked No. 5 in Eight-Man, Division II at 5-1 overall, 2-0 in District 7.
"It's been great," Maier said. "I have really liked stepping in to fill the shoes of the other offensive linemen who have done great and hopefully carry on the tradition."
Last week, the 6-foot, 225-pound Maier recorded a season-high seven tackles and made several key blocks on the edge in the Cougars' 44-12 home victory against rival Victoria. Maier has 30 tackles this season.
"I think I have gotten more of a feel of the game this year," Maier said.
Along with seniors Sam Higgason and Matt Demel -- both returning starters -- Maier has helped the Cougars enjoy another strong season.
"Otis-Bison has always had great linemen," Higgason said. "So it's always great when you have got three people across the line that you can depend on."
Maier has helped the Cougars run for 259 yards a game and 5.7 yards per game.
"He has always worked hard and I am glad it is working for him, because he is a heck of a kid," Starr said. "Student, leader, he is everything that you want. I would take eight of Tyler Maiers."
Senior running back Dylan Wissman ranks as one of Kansas' top eight-man running backs with 175 carries for 1,158 yards and 23 scores. Last year, Otis-Bison ran for 234 yards and averaged 6.9 yards a carry.
"He has been huge," Wissman said. "He has been like our third piece to our puzzle when it comes to the line. He is huge and he makes blocks and he gives you holes. He is definitely big when it comes to our offense."