What do Graham, Nocona, Quanah and Munday all have in common?
For one, they're the area's only four 11-man teams still alive this postseason.
But the quartet also has the four most potent offenses in 2012 based on total yards gained.
On one hand, that fact doesn't seem very surprising. Each of the four returned their starting quarterbacks, who depend on several weapons at the skill positions.
Another common trait is the strong play by their offensive lines. None of the four teams had more than two starters returning for the 2012 season, leaving some tinkering and jelling to be done in the trenches.
As the third round of the playoffs commences this weekend, it's safe to say those uncertainties have developed into strengths.
"I can guarantee you all four of those lines are pretty good," Nocona coach Brad Keck said. "That's where a lot of those stats come from. I've seen Munday's guys on TV. They don't get the recognition, but they'll get after you."
Here's a quick look at the unsung heroes from all four schools — Graham, Nocona, Quanah and Munday:
Graham did something unique for a school its size. Before the season, the Steers shuffled their staff so that they would have two offensive line coaches.
The decision to move Robert Sides from the defensive side of the ball to help out Joe Merrett has paid off for the balanced Steers. Sides coaches the tackles, while Merrett works with the guards and centers.
"It's been worth it," said Graham coach Kenny Davidson, who pointed out that his position coaches work with all five teams and not just the varsity, making two offensive line coaches a necessity with the Steers' numbers.
Graham had the luxury of all-district veterans in tackle Tyler Fore and Ben Hays returning. But he said the other three newcomers — guards Sammy Serrano and Kenneth Dixon and tackle Rowdy Moore — have been pleasant surprises.
"We've got three seniors, and it's going to be hard to replace those guys," Davidson said. "I feel real good about where they're at now and what they're doing."
Even though four of Nocona's five starters on the offensive line are seniors, the Indians had some question marks up front entering the season.
While Jesse Salgado and Raul Anaya are three-year starters, the other three linemen — Evan Embry, D.J. Rosales and Billy Speights — hadn't taken a varsity snap before 2012. In fact, Speights hadn't played football since he was a freshman.
"For him to come back, that was a big question if he could play there," Keck said of Speights. "We knew he had size and strength, but for him to do that has been impressive.
"Danny Brittain is the best offensive line coach I've been around. Those guys will run through walls for him."
The Indians average a hearty 227 pounds up front and have helped open holes for a rushing attack averaging 335 yards per game. They also have an added bonus in Jackson Towery, who has filled in at all five positions this season.
The timing was no coincidence. When Quanah began running the ball better at the start of district, it happened to be the first time the Indians had some consistency up front.
Left guard Brandon Beck was Quanah's only true returning starter, although left tackle Zach Parmer had some experience. Right tackle Craig Braker was coming off a broken leg.
When Zak Oseletto was inserted at right guard, the offense finally got into a groove, averaging about 70 more rushing yards per game than it did before his arrival. Oseletto rotates with 300-pound Josh Trejo on offense so both will stay fresh on defense.
"We had to replace Jordan Freeman (concussion). And it was one of those things that went unseen, but we struggled to run the ball," Quanah coach Jason Sims said. "When Zak Oseletto stepped up, it changed the dimension of everything. That's really when we started running the ball."
Munday's offensive explosiveness usually gets credited to the abundance of natural talent.
But the Moguls also have depth on the lines, which has helped during a season in which both guards missed time with injuries.
Right tackle Logan Groves and left guard Jerico Thompson were the only returning starters once Tomas Carranza tore his ACL. Right guard Xzavier Bulliner also missed a few games, too.
But backups Ryan Redder and T.J. Garcia held down the fort. The Moguls, who are averaging 470 yards per game, have also received steady play from seniors Mark Yzaguirre at left tackle and B.J. Araujo at center.
"I don't think the injuries affected us greatly because we felt like we were eight or nine deep with that group," Munday coach Patrick Corcoran said. "Those guys are really coming off the ball. It makes for longer runs and more explosive plays."
*LT — Tyler Fore, Sr.
LG — Kenneth Dixon, So.
*C — Ben Hays, Sr.
RG — Sammy Serrano, Jr.
RT — Rowdy Moore, Sr.
*LT — Jesse Salgado, Sr.
*LG — Raul Anaya, Sr.
C — Evan Embry, Jr.
RG — D.J. Rosales, Sr.
RT — Billy Speights, Sr.
LT — Zach Parmer, Sr.
*LG — Brandon Beck, Sr.
C — Austin Martinez, So.
RG — Zak Oseletto, Sr./Josh Trejo, Sr.
RT — Craig Braker, Jr.
LT — Mark Yzaguirre, Sr.
*LG — Jerico Thompson, Jr.
C — B.J. Araujo, Sr.
RG — Xzavier Bulliner, Sr.
*RT — Logan Groves, Sr.
*denotes returning starter