There's a noticeable difference between the North Callaway Thunderbirds football team that started the regular season winless and ended it as Class 3, District 6 champions.
The Thunderbirds, winners of five straight and six of their last seven, are averaging 55 rushing attempts and 254 yards on the ground during that stretch. A lot of that has to do with the recent gelling of the North Callaway offensive line, nicknamed "The Big Nasty."
North Callaway head coach Mike Emmons recalls a 36-7 win at Fulton on Oct. 14 as the first complete game his team played all season. Coincidentally, the Thunderbirds' front line controlled the Hornets and helped the offense hold the ball for 16 of 24 minutes in the second half.
"We knew we needed to work them harder because at the start of the season, they were all just a bunch of nice kids," Emmons said. "They didn't have that killer instinct that offensive lines need.
"They don't play dirty, but they play intense and finish blocks."