LITTLETON - Their efforts often go overlooked, they're anonymous on the field and yet, linemen are one of the most integral parts of any football team. The 'Hog Wars' are a series of competitions that celebrate those players' brawn, grit and talent.
"Everything is usually about the little guys," Horizon senior Cole Seiwald said. "[The Hog Wars are] about the big guys which is the most important part."
On Saturday, Columbine High School hosted its annual 'Hog Wars' competition. This year, 16 schools representing 20 teams competed in the games.
"We love to compete and we love to go against the best. It's what we strive for every year," Columbine senior Drew Jeffers said.
"We're all out here to do the same thing, and that's to compete," Legend junior Quinten Hayward said. "Even if we don't like the other school that much, might be rivals, we still cheer them on [and] really want to see how their season is going to go."
The schools vary by size, and not all will play each other in the regular season, but the players say it's the new competition that provides them the best test and measure of where they are heading into the fall.
"We can come out here and compete against bigger guys and test our skills and see how we'll be during the real season," Hayward said.
"This is probably where you see the best competition in the state, you know, the biggest, strongest guys. As soon as we get to the playoffs, we know what we're going against, we know what we're going to see and it's not a surprise really," Eaglecrest senior Kyante Christian added.
The events are always the same, but never get any easier. High school athletes must endure the bench press, tire flip, sled push, dummy relay, tug-o-war and truck push if they want to come out on top. While all of the events are tough -- especially when you combine them with a blistering hot sun -- most agreed the tug-o-war was the most grueling challenge.
"You're out there, your hands are hurting. You gotta dig in, you gotta find that extra gear," Eaglecrest senior Kyante Christian said. "That's always the hardest part."
"The fact that there's five guys on each side, all weighing 200-something pounds plus, and you're all pulling at each other across the line before the other [is tough]," Arvada West senior Anthony Gallardo said.
This year, host team Columbine won the 'large' Hog Wars competition, edging out Cherry Creek and Highlands Ranch High School. The Legend Titans won the 'small' team category.
"We're unsung heroes but we never look for any credit. The way we play is very blue collar. We just love to get our job done. A win is all the reward we need," Jeffers said.
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