ABILENE — The Brownwood Lions won the Lineman Challenge at Hardin-Simmons University Saturday, earning themselves the right to compete in the state championship tournament back in Abilene on June 24.

The Lions won a division that included Sweetwater, Snyder, Odessa High and Abilene Cooper.

“Overall they did a great job competing,” said Lions offensive coordinator John Contrucci. “It’s not a direct reflection of offensive line play or defensive line play, there’s some skills that go along with some of the events. But at the end of the day we were competing in the last event against Sweetwater and it was winner take all. Our guys stepped up and won, so I’m proud of them for sure.”

Contrucci said the Lineman Challenge resembles a “World’s Strongest Man” competition with events such as an overhead tire throw, dumbbell stack relay, bench press, tractor tire flip — which is a timed event for 30 tire flips — farmer’s walk with a wheel barrow, power drives, and a tug of war.

Among the highlights for the Lions, according to Contrucci, was Liam McCraw bench pressing 185 pounds 30 times, one rep short of the best effort among all competitors at the event.

The Lions sent to the event a mixed unit of veteran varsity returnees along with newcomers coming up from the JV.

“Our younger guys competed well and also got to see how the older guys compete,” Contrucci said. “They all pitched in and encouraged each other and worked hard.”