Blocking for a running back like Scott Siegel is a privilege for Grand Island Senior High tackle Aaron Forsberg.
Imagine the pride Forsberg and the rest of the offensive line will feel if Siegel breaks the Islanders' single-season rushing record. Entering Thursday's game against Lincoln Southeast, Siegel is on pace to shatter a 49-year-old mark that was set by retired University of Nebraska at Kearney football coach Claire Boroff.
"Records are made to be broken. They're not that big of deal really,” Boroff said. "I didn't even know it existed until somebody brought it up. I'm surprised that it hasn't been broken a long time ago.”
Hundreds of backs have lined up in the Grand Island backfield since Boroff rushed for a school-record 1,294 yards in 1953. Few can match the accomplishments of Siegel, who met Boroff last Monday.
"I'm not there yet,” Siegel said. "Hopefully I can get it. It would be a nice honor. It would be nice to look back at it if I do get it.”
Siegel should become the seventh back in the history of the Islander program to surpass the 1,000-yard mark during the Southeast game. His season statistics include 10 touchdowns and 967 yards — on 165 carries.
With four regular-season games left, Siegel is on pace to rush for a whopping 1,741 yards.
"I'm sure Scott is one of the best running backs we've ever had here,” said Grand Island tackle Ryan Zulkoski. "He just knows how to make people miss and he knows how to run people over.”
Boroff was a standout running back at Kearney State College after his Islander days ended. A 1953 Lincoln Journal-Star article that honored Boroff as an all-state selection said he "combines power, speed and savvy to make him one of Nebraska's most hard to stop backs in years.”
Boroff said the 6-foot, 205-pound Siegel is a different type of back than he was.
"He's quite a bit faster than I was,” Boroff said. "I'm sure he's faster than I was and he's bigger than I was. He's quite a bit bigger.”
Boroff was in the stands when Grand Island opened its season against Kearney. He was impressed by what he saw of Siegel.
"He has good size and he has excellent speed. It looks to me like he can do it up inside or he can do it outside,” Boroff said. "As long as he's got a good supporting cast to help him out and get him started then he kind of does his own thing. After that I just think he's an outstanding football player.”
Siegel's talents are showcased with help from an offensive line that has consistently created holes against opponents determined to take away the Grand Island ground game. Besides Forsberg and Zulkoski, the group includes guards Bobby Sinsel and Jerry Clinch and center Ryan Lagsding.
"I got to give at least 70 or 80 percent of the credit to them,” Siegel said. "They open the holes. That's all you can really ask for.”
It's not uncommon for the Islanders to give Siegel the football on consecutive plays in one series after another. His willingness to take a punishment has been a big highlight in what has been an up-and-down season for the Islanders.
"It's awesome to have somebody that can run that much and get that many yards,” Forsberg said. "It just makes you realize how much your blocks are doing.”
Zulkoski said Siegel's production shows how good the back and his line are.
"I think we're one of the best lines that has ever been through here,” Zulkoski said. "Siegel is the best running back we've had.”
Grand Island's list of former backs is impressive. Besides Boroff and former backfield teammate Darrel Pinkston, it includes names like Tom Rathman, Kevin Trosper, Ryan Rathjen and Dusty Stamer.
Trosper, Rathjen and Stamer all broke the 1,000-yard marks during their prep careers. Stamer finished tantalizingly close to Boroff's mark, as he rushed for 1,284 yards in 1999.
Siegel is 328 yards away from rewriting history.
"I didn't even realize he was that close to it,” Forsberg said. "It's definitely a pride factor because he has to have somebody blocking for him. We have to get some credit for that.”
Zulkoski said the offensive line will take a lot of credit if the record is broken.
"I'll take pride,” Zulkoski said. "I'll remember back when I get old that we were there for him and he was there for us to break the record.”
Siegel has averaged 33 carries per game. Grand Island coach Mark Fritch doesn't plan on adjusting his play calling as the run for the record nears.
"I don't see that having any factor,” Fritch said. "I think Scott would be the same way. He just wants to help the team win.”
Siegel will include his teammates in any celebration if the record is broken. He would like the celebration to include film of Boroff's playing days — if it's available.
"If I get to that point maybe I can celebrate a little bit,” Siegel said. "It's mainly a team accomplishment — a testament to the great guys in the offensive line and on offense.”