By BEN JOHNSON
Very few high schoolers witness the sun rising in June and July. After all, it's summer time.
Not Charlie Lamons. His alarm clock makes sure he gets an early start every day.
"I wake up real really around 6:30, and I go to football workouts," Lamons said. "Then around 9, I go to work."
Through a summer work program with the Cherokee Nation, Lamons spends most days roasting in the heat atop a riding lawn mower. His landscaping duties rotate among four fields at Tahlequah High School and Tahlequah Middle School.
"It sucks, but it's worth it," he said.
The most excruciating aspect of Lamons' summer was conditioning and putting in hours at work with a cast on his hand.
"I punched a door and broke my hand," said the 6-foot-3, 285-pound senior offensive lineman. "I just got mad and hit a door."
Fortunately for Lamons, the cast was temporary and was removed recently. It didn't even hinder most of what Lamons was trying to accomplish this summer.
"I've been lifting with it on," Lamons said. "...I've just been benching and doing upper-body stuff."
Immediately after injuring his hand, Lamons was concerned about his prognosis. But that nervousness was tempered by the doctor.
"As soon as I did it, it hurt real bad," Lamons recalled. "I didn't know if I was going to have to have surgery or anything. But then it wasn't that big of a deal, and (the doctor) said I'd have the cast off in three or four weeks."
Well before his senior season commences.
When Tahlequah opens its 2013 season against Fort Gibson in early September, Lamons will be called upon to anchor the offensive line at right guard.
"He has a nastiness to him when he plays in the trenches, and we like to see that," Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert said. "We hope to see that from all the guys around him."
Lamons is also well-versed at playing center, if Tahlequah needs him to slide over and snap the ball.
"I like it, because I get more of a jump on people," Lamons said of playing in the middle of the offensive line. "I know when the ball is going to be snapped, and I have more control over it. That allows me to get more of a head start on people."
Gilbert also said that Lamons could be counted on to contribute on defense, too, playing both defensive tackle and nose guard periodically.
What Lamons has done, Gilbert said, is set an example for his teammates on both sides of the ball.
"He has done a very good job of leading this offseason," Gilbert said. "He has done a good job of understanding what it takes to lead this offseason, and he had done everything we've asked him to do."
As for an early analysis on Tahlequah's offensive line, Lamons said the future looks promising for the 2013 campaign.
"We're looking pretty good," he said. "We all average about 6-3, 260ish."