Over 1,500 pounds of fun

New Prairie’s offensive line weighs a combined 1,500-plus pounds and has a range of humorous nicknames. The group, from left, features right tackle Hunter “Steve” Whitenack, right guard Adam “The Fridge” Borror, center Zack “Chunk” Borror, left guard Lukas “Bozo” Fozo and left tackle Chris “Mongo” McGrew.

NEW CARLISLE — Three years ago, now-senior center Zach Borror was a freshman at New Prairie taking an agriculture class with then-senior Jessie Williamson.

The two were friendly because of football, and they got to talking in class one day.

“Have you ever seen ‘The Goonies’?” Williamson asked. “You know, you look a lot like that “Chunk” kid in it.”

Borror laughed at the resemblance in their hefty body types and similar facial structure, but didn’t think much of it. There’s no way the nickname “Chunk” would stick; especially since the team already called him “Pickles” for bringing cucumbers to their two-a-day summer practices as a source of hydration.

It’s not like cucumbers were the only food he brought to practices or games though. Often times, Borror would stuff McDoubles or McNuggets into his handwarmer to snack on while sitting on the sidelines.

“Big boy’s gotta eat,” he said. “I can’t do that anymore, now that I play. Now I have to wait ‘till after the games to eat my McDonald’s. I’ll still take down a pizza or two before the games though.”

Even with Borror’s peculiar in-game snacking, teammates still called him “Pickles,” not “McDouble” or “McNugget.” Devouring cucumbers in the summer gave a strong first impression and it stuck. That is, until the Cougars won the sectional in 2016.

Everyone was celebrating a win over Hobart by blasting music in the locker room. Amidst the dancing and camaraderie, Williamson called out his favorite freshman he fondly called “Chunk.” It was a nickname only he really used for Borror at the time, but that all changed real quick.

“Chunk!” Williamson yelled. “Do the truffle shuffle!”

Borror figured he had no choice at that point. He ripped off his shirt, stood up and started shaking his belly “like no other,” sending the team into hysterics. “Pickles” was a thing of the past. He would now be referred to as, “Chunk.” It caught on so much that even New Prairie teachers called him “Chunk” in the classroom.

Borror doesn’t take offense. He thinks it’s hilarious and wears “Chunk” as a badge of honor. So much so that after every Cougars victory since winning the sectional freshman year, he rips off his shirt and shakes his belly in all its glory. Borror’s post-win truffle shuffle is a fun tradition that brings the team together, encompassing the lightheartedness the Cougars’ offensive line exudes.

“Senior season, baby,” Borror said of the dancing. “Gotta go out with a bang, right?”

Borror is at the heart of New Prairie’s dominant line that exceeds a combined 1,500 pounds — a number that may still be an understatement.

“Fifteen-hundred might not even be the right number,” Cougars associate head coach Bill Gumm said. “There’s definitely a few of them that are lying about their weight on the lower side of things. They’re way heavier than 1,500 pounds all together, for sure.”

The five of them — Borror; his little brother and sophomore guard, Adam Borror; sophomore tackle Hunter Whitenack; junior tackle Chris McGrew; and senior guard Lukas Fozo — are as physically imposing a group as any in the state, but their personalities are anything but intimidating. They keep the mood light and are the self-proclaimed funniest guys on the team. Plenty of teammates would agree, and for good reason.

Zach and company are confident, hysterical characters. So much so that they took a boys trip to the water park this summer, displaying their large frames for all to see.

The five of them were having themselves a day, enjoying all the amenities the park had to offer. While floating down the lazy river, bellies and “man boobies” exposed in their intertubes, a lifeguard caught their eyes. Much like Wendy Peffercorn in “The Sandlot,” they were all taken aback.

“Chunk!” Whitenack said. “You won’t go up to her and get her number.”

Zach isn’t one to back down from a dare. You say he won’t, and he will. So when Whitenack challenged him to turn on the charm, he did just that. Channeling his inner “Ham” from “The Sandlot,” Zach got out of his innertube and walked over to the lifeguard. After a few minutes of chatting, she took out a black pen and wrote her number on his hand.

He claims his sense of humor is the main reason for his momentary success, recognizing he doesn’t quite have the body of a young Channing Tatum. This comical personality is consistent throughout the offensive line, though they all claim Zach is by far the funniest.

While he may generate the most laughs, he’s not the best at everything. He said he’s a great speed-eater — he once ate two pounds of hamburgers in under four minutes — but the most prolific overall eater of the group is Whitenack, a heaping 6-foot-6, 315-pound sophomore.

Fellow linemen shared tales of him finishing six Whoppers and multiple extra large pizzas. Impressive feats, no doubt. But nothing tops the damage he and his dad, Bob Whitenack, do to chicken wings.

“A typical order for our family (of four) will be like 120 wings or something,” Hunter said. “It’s a lot. People will start watching us. My mom and brother won’t eat that many, so my dad and I will usually go through the last 100 or so. I don’t know how it’s possible. But I think I just go really hard in practice, so when I get home, I’m starving and eat everything.”

While eating about 10 pounds of wings is extraordinary for the average human, it might be expected for a behemoth like Hunter. But he isn’t your typical slow, overweight, 300-plus-pound teenager. He’s quick and agile for his size and lifts as much as anyone on the team.

Hunter credits a lot of that due to his wrestling background. His dad is New Prairie’s coach and made the sport part of his son’s life years ago. In fact, Hunter always thought he’d go to college for wrestling, not football. Prospects have quickly changed in that regard however, as prestigious universities such as Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Iowa have began to recruit him to play offensive line.

“Wrestling helps so much more than people think it could,” Hunter said. “It helps with speed, strength. The easiest way to get stronger is definitely by wrestling. Every second, you’re always using all of your strength to do whatever you’ve gotta do. It takes every bit of strength you’ve got. Wrestling also requires a lot of footwork and always moving your feet, too. Agility and balance in general are huge. Our other tackle, our center and both our guards used to wrestle, too, and it shows.”

One of the biggest lessons taught in wrestling is that the low man always wins. Leverage is a key part of wrestling and football, and the whole line takes that motto to heart when run blocking. One time this year, however, Adam Borror used the low man wins mentality to do something other than block defenders. He used it to run them over.

Heading into the season, Adam didn’t want to play football. His main passion was baseball, and that was among the reasons his football future was up in the air. Head coach Russ Radtke recognized this and proposed an offer Adam couldn’t refuse: He could play fullback in a game at some point this year.

Adam didn’t touch the ball in the Cougars’ first six games, but frequently ran a fullback dive in practice for short-yardage situations. In arguably the biggest moment in New Prairie regular season history, it was time to put that play into action.

Less than 60 ticks remained in the Week 7 contest with Penn, and a fourth-and-1 on the Kingsmen 5 loomed. Quarterback Chase Ketterer ran to the sideline during a timeout and knew what they had to run.

“Give me (Adam) Borror in there,” he said to his coaches. “Let him run the ball.”

Adam slid back from his position at right guard to fullback. He crouched into a three-point stance, ready to make the most of a long-awaited opportunity to run the football.

Ketterer took the snap under center and turned over his left shoulder to hand Adam the ball. The rumbling lineman-turned-fullback covered it with both hands and churned his legs, making his way not only past the first-down marker, but across the goal line and into the end zone to help New Prairie regain a 21-17 lead with 45 seconds left.

Adam, amped up as ever, ran to his quarterback and gave him a massive, celebratory head-bump.

“We practiced that play this season, but I never imagined it would happen this game, at that time,” Borror said after the program-defining win. “I was sitting there after they called the play and I was like, ‘I’ve got to do this one for the seniors.’ My brother’s a senior, so I had the mindset that I had to punch it in. I had to get the job done. Then once I scored, man, I felt like I was on cloud nine for a minute. It was crazy.”

It’s a play many will recall when reminiscing on one of the biggest wins in New Prairie football history. It wasn’t one of Ketterer’s many touchdowns or any other highlights from one of the best players in school history. It was a 5-yard run by a no-name sophomore. For once, a lineman got to bask in all the glory — a deserving moment for a group that rarely gets attention.

Zach Borror and the other linemen had no choice but to call Adam “The Fridge” after that, alluding to former Bears lineman William “The Fridge” Perry, who famously ran for a touchdown in Super Bowl XX on a play similar to Adam’s. At long last, every offensive lineman finally had a unique nickname.

There’s Chris “Mongo” McGrew, nicknamed because Radtke can’t ever pronounce his last name correctly. Clearly, that stuck. Then there’s Lukas “Bozo” Fozo; a name that’s pretty self-explanatory. Moving on to Hunter “Mr. Potatohead” or “Steve” Whitenack. The latter moniker refers to a character from the video game “Minecraft” that has a body made of cubes, looking like a human box. With how bulky and broad Hunter is, “Steve” is fitting. Lastly, there’s the Borror brothers: Adam “The Fridge” and Zach “Chunk.”

All five of the unique, fun-poking nicknames encompass the very vibe they convey. Their humor makes them a unique bunch, and that’s what they want to be recognized for. They don’t need affirmations. They’re fine being the big, funny guys who always do their job of protecting and opening holes for Ketterer, who they call “Precious,” to make him look good. They don’t need any special recognition, so long as they keep winning.

And with more wins, come more “Chunk” truffle shuffles. He can only shake his belly up to four more times this season, and he and the Cougars sure hope they’ll be able to witness one final rendition in the Lucas Oil Stadium locker rooms after a state championship win.

“If we win state,” “Chunk” said, “it’ll be the best one the football team will ever see.”

Class 4A Sectional 18

Final

Tonight

AT AMZIE MILLER FIELD

Plymouth (9-2) vs. New Prairie (10-1), 6:30 p.m.

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