Spring Valley High School should just get it over with and rename itself “Linemen High” with the torrent of ‘big guy’ talent that has walked the halls over the past decade.

The Timberwolves pride themselves on smashmouth football. For the layman, that means they want to physically impose their will upon their opponents and smash them into submission, and for much of coach Brad Dingess’ tenure, they have done just that.

It is impossible to play that style of football style without the unsung heroes of football leading the way, the young men who make their names in the trenches — the offensive line.

Over the past few seasons alone, the Wolves have produced Division I talent in Doug Nester (Virginia Tech) and Zach Williamson (Louisville), among others. On this year’s squad, there are two bonafide D-1 studs along the offensive line in Bryce Biggs and Wyatt Milum, who have already collected a healthy sum of attention from college programs, but the one constant on the line for the Wolves over the last few years has been their anchor, the playcaller of the offensive line, the resident cowboy of the Wolves, center Jake Hutchison.

Hutchison is the vocal and spiritual leader of the Wolves offensive line, a brash, outspoken and driving force behind the smashmouth style of football the Wolves so methodically employ.

He is impossible to miss at games, walking to the locker room, or exiting the bus on away games, wearing his massive, John Wayne-esque cowboy hat. Hutchison compared it to a Jedi wielding his lightsaber,

“Just like a Jedi and his lightsaber, it’s an extension of my own body,” Hutchison said.

Like SVHS linemen that have come before him, Hutchison (now halfway through his senior season) is also garnering the attention of schools to play at the next level. Better late than never in the eyes of this biased onlooker.

He has taken official visits around the old West Virginia conference over the past few Saturdays and has a visit to Morehead State scheduled in the coming weeks. Hutchison gives all the credit, first and foremost to God, but also gives credit to his former teammates like Nester that have shown him how to conduct himself on official visits.

“I would never take back all those hours of grinding we’ve put in together,” he said. “Their success reminds me every day to keep a clear mindset of my personal goals as a leader on and off the field.”

Hutchison said he’s enjoying the ups-and-downs of his final season with the team, having three trips to Wheeling under his belt, he and the rest of the Wolves are hungry to have another shot at the school’s first state football title.

“Being a part of an amazing program like Spring Valley is nothing but a blessing. Our coaches and players are getting more focused on what we need to do as a team,” Hutchison said.

The leader that Jake has become both in the halls of Spring Valley and on the gridiron on Friday nights has schools at the next level finally seeing the impact this Wayne County country boy could have on a college football program.

Matthew A. Perry is a history teacher at C-K Middle and writes about the odd side of history at www.theoddpast.com.

Matthew A. Perry is a history teacher at C-K Middle and writes about the odd side of history at www.theoddpast.com.

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