Like a freight train trudging up a hill, once E.J.
Hurley made it over, he's been has been clicking ever since.
The junior offensive and defensive lineman overcame a slow start on varsity to become a consistent and reliable force on Kingman's offensive line.
"He's really turned the corner," KHS football coach Ray Smith said.
"He didn't have a real good camp in California.
He was a kid that we were looking for great things from.
He started kind of slowly, but has really come on every week and he's been our most consistent lineman the last four or five weeks.
"He's a kid that we run the ball behind and we've moved him around to put him at the strong side.
He's just really blossomed in the last three or four weeks."
Hurley was a two-way threat on Kingman's successful junior varsiy team, but the adjustment to varsity more time than he anticipated.
But Hurley never backed away from the challenge and soon his hard work paid off as he settled into his role, becoming a versatile threat on both offense and defense.
"A lot of us juniors didn't have any varsity experience," the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder said.
"Me, Jake Almer, Eldon Sheeley, we just had to grow.
"It's a lot faster.
It's a lot harder and fast-paced.
I played both ways (on junior varsity).
It's a lot harder at the varsity level, but there's a lot of people on the team who do it.
I wanted to (start), but I didn't expect to."
Hurley loves football and lives for the sport during the fall.
He's a team player, feeling responsible for both the team's successes and losses on the field.
The Bulldogs have struggled at 1-6 and Hurley feels the pain of the seniors.
"It's a lot of pressure," he said.
"The seniors are all good friends and are a family out there and to see the season go the way its been is horrible."
When Hurley's not tackling in football, he's either controlling opponents on the wrestling mat or heaving a shot put or discus as a member of the track and field team.
He moved into the varsity wrestling lineup as a sophomore, picking up four wins at 189 pounds.
He rolled past his junior varsity opponents at 9-2.
"In football, I want to be an all-American and I've love to win state in football," Hurley said.
"I want to be a state champion in wrestling and in track."
His athletic success is combined effort of ability, lifting weights, work ethic and family support.
Hurley always knows he'll have a cheering section.
His parents, Wayne and Terri, are faithful followers, traveling to every away game.
His older sister Jamie attends home games, but his other sister, Mary, plays basketball in Chadron, Neb.
"My whole family is very supportive of me," Hurley said.
When we go to away games there's about no one there.
It's nice to know they are.
Jamie comes to home games.
When Mary calls she's always asking how I'm doing."
Mary and Jamie were the reason Hurley started playing sports.
As a youngster, he was involved in baseball, swimming and soccer.
His interests changed in seventh grade as he focused on wrestling and track.
He started playing football a year later.
"Once I got started I loved (sports)," he said.
"With football, my parents wouldn't let me play in seventh grade until I ran and lifted.
I love football.
I get big goose bumps from it."