Camdenton football players generally look forward to Thursday practices for there is nothing that gets them more excited and ready to go for the game on Friday night.
Each coach, one-by-one, says or does something to get the team energized each and every week and the team especially gets excited for Assistant Andrew Nolting who is known as “Diesel Hog” and is the final coach to come through. The tradition signifies the end of the “work week” of practice and that it is time to get ready for the Friday night lights. It is a tradition that has yielded positive results over the past 31 years too if five state titles are any indication.
“It is an awesome deal because you see every class do it,” said Camdenton assistant coach Andrew Nolting who coaches the tight ends and defensive backs. “You see every class, no matter what age group or what year they came through, do the same traditions so they have that family bond no matter if they played in 1995, 2010 or today.
“It is the entire team. Every kid from the kicker, to the offensive linemen, to the sophomores and senior captains are in there as a family chanting it on for every coach. It’s one family in there,” he added.
It begins with Camdenton defensive coordinator Nick Bruck, who is also known for his vocals and skills with a guitar, as he performs a different song each week for the team before practice. Last year, his rendition of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash helped the Lakers rally for a win at West Plains once they heard a train pass on the nearby train tracks. After the practice is over, the players head back to the locker room and await the coaches who come in one-by-one and deliver their signature phrases.
Players begin chanting “Diesel Hog” in anticipation of Nolting as each coach makes their appearance. Assistant Shawn Maschino starts things off with a phrase for the “Hogs” among the offensive and defensive lines as he shouts out “On the Chin” to which the team replies “On the Back.” Then, Assistant Tim McDuffy comes in and yells “What time is it?” and the team responds with “Game time.” After that, Head Coach Jeff Shore yells “Who’s got it better than us?” as the team replies “Nobody,” Bruck comes in playing an air guitar, Assistant Parr Pitts yells “Hogs Rule” and Assistants Daniel Eidson and Steve Bayless quiet down the players before shouting “Sic semper tyrannis,” which is Latin term against tyranny that has often been used throughout American history.
Last but not least, “Diesel Hog” comes in and Nolting tries to surprise players by using different entrances to the locker room and has even hidden in the showers. Nolting will blow his whistle repeatedly, hop around, chest bumping players and run to a specific locker as the players are beating on the lockers. Finally, he says “Y’all boys ready? It’s game time baby!” and proceeds to throw his hat in the air for one of the players to catch.
“I just try to mix it up and have fun with it. Some years I’d try dance moves, but those are not very good,” Nolting said with a smile. “That has always been a fail, but the kids love it and it gets them going.”
Camdenton senior Seth Harris can certainly attest to that and it is a tradition he is glad to be a part of.
“The first time you come into it as a sophomore, you have no clue what is going on and it is just a bunch of grown guys going nuts around you,” the senior stated. “It just gets our mind on football and everybody gets pumped up and hyper for the next game. It gets rowdy and gets the testosterone flowing.”
The final event of the evening is a team dinner at the home of senior Harrison Brownell, whose father Rodney also played for the Lakers. The home is also known as the “Hog House.”
Nolting, who grew up near Atchison, Kan., and played college football for Garden City Community College and William Jewell, received the nickname “Diesel Hog” from Shore during his first season with the Lakers in 2010.
“It was kind of funny because when I was in high school and college they called me ‘Diesel’ and I never even said anything about those nicknames I got when I was playing ball,” Nolting recalled. “He said that and it just clicked. It was hitting the nail on the head so it stuck and for the last eight years that is what I’ve gone by. It was just one of those things that took off like wildfire.”
However, before “Diesel Hog” there was Nolting’s predecessor Joe Borghardt who coached the Lakers for 15 years and went by the name of “Buck Hog.” Nolting and Borghardt actually had lake houses right next to each other and when Borghardt decided to hang up his whistle, he notified Nolting about the position.
“It has been an honor on my part, especially trying to replace a guy like Joe who I think the world of,” Nolting said. “I’ve known him since I was 14 years-old and I’ve just tried to step in, fill his shoes and keep up the tradition of coaching Laker football. I remember the first time I went in there and the kids were going nuts. It has been like that every Thursday so it is a blast and I look forward to it.”
The chants of “Diesel Hog” will go on and this tradition, among others, is what makes playing football for the Lakers unique.
“I came from a program where we had winning at the very end with a new coach and we were starting a tradition and starting things we were supposed to do,” Nolting recalled. “I did not grow up with this and did not come from Camdenton so when you come in it is awesome. I am envious of it not being able to play here.
“Those kids are going to have that tradition that is going to live on no matter what. Kids will always remember those things and that is something they can always hold on to. One of the benefits of playing football here are those little traditions that go along with the winning, the program and the brotherhood,” he added.