Atascadero head coach brought 11 schools to Memorial Field for loads of fun
ATASCADERO — Even though the spring football season ended only a few weeks ago, high school sports are entirely into their summer programs which meant one thing this past weekend; it was time for The Atascadero Greyhounds to hold their annual passing league tournament and lineman competition, the A-Town Throwdown.
Atascadero head coach Vic Cooper brought 11 schools to Memorial Field and the adjoining fields at the AHS campus for one of the most fun tournaments in the area. The A-Town Throwdown is a fun weekend for the athletes competing and battling for their spots and a favorite of local parents. The lineman competition is a combination of brute strength, teamwork, strategy, and communication is an absolute joy to watch.
The 12 schools in attendance at the tournament were a collection of SLO County schools, with some teams from the valley looking to get out of the heat mixed in. Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande, Tulare Union, Coalinga, Clovis North, Righetti, Mission Prep, Morro Bay, Mendota, and Bakersfield Christian competed in the tournament. However, not all teams stayed for both days as some Districts across the state still limit overnight travel.
The Hounds tournament provides something for every player on every team as skill position players spend the two days playing in a round-robin, seven-on-seven tournament against the other teams in attendance. At the same time, the big guys can showcase their power.
The passing league portion of the tournament occurred on both days while the linemen competition was held on Saturday. The lineman competition consisted of three fun events and one lifting staple in the 185-pound bench press. After seeing how many reps the strongest boys from each team could muster, the teams headed outside for the ambulance push and pull where each team would need to pull the vehicle about 30 yards with a rope and then push it back past the line.
The third event was called “Moving Coach’s Uncle” but affectionately referred to as the redneck relay by the kids. This event required teams to lift and pack various items such as a couch, mattress, and big tires into a trailer as fast as possible to beat the other teams.
The fourth and final event is always the premier event for those competing and spectating as Ryan Cooper erects a giant PVC pipe apparatus for the World Strongest Man Medball Toss. Each contestant heaves an eight-point med ball over their head and over a bar a la the pole vault. After each round, the bar gets higher until there is only one champion.
Even though the event is a competition, it becomes impossible to tell who plays for what team as the boys hoot and holler together after each heave, cheering only for Herculean acts of strength.
When the dust settled, only one man was remaining, and he was wearing green and white. Templeton senior Austin Marquart won the medball toss.
“Everyone was cheering me on, even from the other schools; it was a lot of fun,” the senior told the Atascadero News.
In the end, it was Clovis North that took first place in the lineman competition while the Hounds placed second.