One of the most significant yet incognito positions in the world of sports is the offensive lineman. He protects his quarterback’s blind side, repels the massive rushers from touching his running back, and holds off the defense until the referee’s whistle ends the play. His job is to primarily block, not run, and is even discouraged from receiving a pass. However, he scores indirectly for every offensive touchdown and the absence of statistics for the offensive lineman does not justify his impactful contribution towards a team’s success.
In place of last year’s seniors, Claude Cole ‘18 and Thomas Diamond ‘18 found themselves undertaking this heavy responsibility for a highly-respected Bellarmine football team. Both juniors experienced journeys far different from their counterparts and their stories on how they attained status as a member of the varsity team are reasons why they are both this month’s pair athlete feature.
For Claude, football was destined to be his primary sport. As the junior steps off the morning Caltrain 210 amongst dreary-eyed students, he stated, “I always enjoyed the sport; I was over the weight class so football was unlimited.” Claude graduated David Starr Jordan Middle School of Palo Alto alongside fellow Bell, Jack Devine ‘18. Before his arrival to Bellarmine, Claude gathered laurels from his middle school’s basketball A team and played for the Palo Alto Midnights, a highly-recognized AAU West Coast basketball team.
When Claude became a Bellarmine freshman, however, he wanted to allocate the majority of his time towards football. Claude entered sophomore year on the Junior Varsity squad as a two-way starter which he attributes to his tall and built stature. Initially, Claude expressed that the decision to play football was a controversial one. “My dad was okay with it, but my mom didn’t want me to play mainly because of concussions,” divulged the lineman. Now, Claude is fighting for the starting spot on the offensive line with multiple seniors and juniors of his caliber. “The practice times are the same; it’s just a lot more demanding as well as there’s a lot more plays,” he notes.
At the end of the day, Claude just aims to improve at the sport he dearly enjoys. “I just hope to get better at this sport and learn more about my position and how to play the game,” he said. His brother Constantine Cole entered as a part of the Class of 2020 and when asked if we might see another Cole join the ranks of Bellarmine football, Claude chuckled and said, “He might play next year, but he plays basketball and I think that’s his main sport.”
Thomas Diamond ‘18 accompanies Claude as they get off at the College Park station. The bright, cheery junior laughs charismatically as he and Claude make their way to their first period classes. A year ago, however, Thomas was not a Bellarmine student, but rather an American living in Denmark. For four years, Thomas resided in Hellerup—in the metropolitan area of Copenhagen—with his family. When asked about his recent experience here at Bellarmine, Thomas said, “I like Bellarmine a lot; Ever since I got here, I felt like the sense of brotherhood. In the team, there’s a strong bond between the players.”
Brotherhood was not the only value that Thomas discovered for he also stated that his offensive/defensive lineman coach, Mr. Henry, has “really taught [him] how to really play the game here at Bellarmine.” The junior additionally reflected the difference between Danish football and football in America. “Of course there’s a very big shift between the Danish football and the American football; it’s a lot more competitive and a lot more demanding here while in Denmark it was a lot more laid back,” he said. Although this is the first year Thomas is exposed to the ferocity of the West Catholic Athletic League and the competitive Central Coast Section, the junior believes that the team will once again succeed in the conference match-ups and knows that the team will at least qualify for the Open Division playoffs. Outside of football, Thomas plans to devote his time to Bellarmine’s Rugby Club.
As the first bell rings, Claude and Thomas share a final laugh and part ways. They are the linemen and they are proud of what they do on the Bellarmine football field.
On Friday’s Senior Night, Claude Cole (#55) and Thomas Diamond (#70) helped lead the Bells to victory over Archbishop Riordan at San Jose City College with a final score of 55-14.