Seniors Quinn Sweeney and Ryan Trongone have been playing on the line together their whole lives.
For Whitman-Hanson Regional High foot ball seniors and starting two-way linemen Quinn Sweeney and Ryan Trongone, most weeks their toughest competition doesn’t come on Friday nights. It doesn’t even come from the other team.
Every Wednesday during practice, the Panthers hold their pass rush championship. Each drill calls for one quarterback, one offensive lineman and one defensive lineman. After cycling through the rest of the team’s linemen, Trongone and Sweeney are almost a sure bet to be the last ones standing.
“Our practices are very competitive, especially on Wednesday,” head coach Mike Driscoll said. “They compete like crazy, those kids.”
Some weeks, Sweeney, who starts at right tackle and defensive end, gets the edge on Trongone. Other weeks, Trongone, who starts at left guard and defensive end, swoops under Sweeney .
“We’re pretty even with wins for that,” Trongone said. “It’s always fun to go against him.”
Said Sweeney: “We always make each other better. He works hard and gives 100 percent on every play.”
On game day, the two, who have been starting on both sides of the ball for the past two seasons, compete on the stat sheet as well.
“We’re all racing for first in sacks,” Trongone said. “The lead for sacks is a big race be tween us.”
Their work on W-H’s defense, which is surrendering under two touchdowns a game, has been eye-popping. Sweeney leads the team with 21 tackles for loss and Trongone is second with 14. In a 9-6 nail-biting win over New Bedford earlier in the season, the two brought down the opposing ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage five times.
“They’re the heart and soul of the line,” Driscoll said of Sweeney and Trongone. “Quinn has just blossomed into an incredible football player over the last two years. Ryan is just a steady kid. He has the best technique of any lineman I’ve ever coached. They’re dependable guys and come to play every day, every game. They start every game and they finish every game, and they’re just great players to have on the team.”
They’re not just reliable up front. They’re leaders there as well, always trying to find a way to bring their unit closer.
“We have a group chat with the linemen where we all go out and do fun things with each other,” Sweeney said. “We’ll go to Buffalo Wild Wings or fishing, just so we can bond with each other more and then when game time comes we know that we have each other’s back, and we know that we have this bond with each other.”
The two have been building chemistry on the offensive line since playing in Hanson Youth Football, where they won the Super Bowl as eighth graders. Sweeney was an offensive guard and nose guard and Trongone played defensive end and center.
“It’s almost instant where we can say, ‘Go get this guy,’ and the next thing you know we get a run for 10 yards,” Trongone said.
And Thanksgiving Day marks the final time these two linemen will step onto the gridiron as teammates.
“That’s gonna be rough because all the Hanson kids that played in eighth grade and a majority of them that played in high school,” Sweeney said. “I’ll never be able to play football with a group of kids like these every again.”
Said Trongone: “I’m sure by the time it comes there will be a lot of mixed emotions. Obviously the fact that we’re leaving football isn’t the greatest thing I want to leave behind but we’re doing it with the best team we’ve had.”