EAST MANATEE -- Alex Salguero isn't a rah-rah guy. For the last four years, he's shown up to practice and performed in games in a quiet manner.
So quiet that the Marshall-bound senior often goes unnoticed on Fridays in the fall.
Well, unnoticed in terms of the fanfare that finds its way to skill players at Braden River.
But without Salguero and the rest of the Pirates' offensive linemen, Braden River's offense wouldn't have the success it's had in racking up a state semifinal appearance against defending state champion Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas this Friday.
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"The quarterback and the running back and those skill guys, they get all the praise," Florida International University-bound senior quarterback Jacob Huesman said. "You never see these guys, right? But you look on film and why is this guy breaking moves, big runs and nice passes? It's because of them. They're great at what they do."
Huesman isn't alone in that thought.
Head coach Curt Bradley said his team has amassed more than 5,000 yards of offense this season, and that's due to the offensive line.
"Do we have a Division I quarterback?" Bradley rhetorically asked. "Yes. But how good would our Division I quarterback be if he wasn't protected? We have great tailbacks. How good would they be without offensive linemen blocking and opening holes? We would not be where we (are), without them."
Like the defensive line, it's been a different cast each season since Bradley took over in 2012.
Salguero, who has been on the O-Line for four seasons, has been the rock. This year, though, is a special group up front.
"This O-Line is probably the best one out of all of the years we've been through," said Salguero. who plays right guard. "All the adversity we've been through, so it made this O-Line one of the best in the county."
That group was bolstered with the inclusion of right tackle Michael Walker, who began the season on the defensive side. When junior nose tackle DeQwunn McCobb blossomed into a go-to option on the defensive line, it allowed Walker to transition full-time to the offensive side of the ball, beginning with the regular season encounter with Venice.
"I like the transition to offense," Walker said. "I played offense my freshman year. And it's just like going back and reliving old memories. I really like this side of the ball a little bit more at the end of the year."
In addition to the 310-pound Salguero and 312-pound Walker, the offensive line features two more seniors with left guard Josh Williams and left tackle Brett Farley, and sophomore cemter Brendan Bengtsson.
"I's been an experience just getting to be with these guys, and they've taught me a lot," Bengtsson said.
To help integrate Bengtsson and the rest into a dominating front five, a bonding trip on Thursdays, following walk-throughs, each week to the local Hungry Howie's Pizza restaurant is in store, where the group crushes food at a high rate.
"When all the good stuff comes out, we all grab it and it's gone so all the other people there don't get it," Salguero said.
Last week's region final against Plant City wasn't the offensive line's best performance, Salguero said, and that was due to "mental mistakes."
It's something that can't happen for the Pirates if they're going get past formidable Aquinas.
However, one player the offensive line won't have to contend with is Ohio State University commit Nick Bosa, a consensus five-star strong-side defensive end for Aquinas.
Bosa suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament toward the end of the regular season, the same fate that hit Braden River starting running back Raymond Thomas and defensive lineman Zach Brown.
Still, the Raiders possess size and speed up front that presents a major challenge for the Pirates' offensive line.
"I think it's going to be kind of the same as Venice on the defensive line, but the linebackers are definitely speedier and they're smarter," Farley said.
It's a challenge the Pirates'' O-Line is ready to face, though, and it's something Williams, the smallest of the group, is used to.
"Being the smallest guy, you've got to work harder," Williams said.