Highland Park’s O-line gives Sledd smooth ride
Highland Park running back Andrew Sledd carries the ball against New Trier on Friday. | Stacia Timonere~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:40PM
A series of monster holes opened up for Andrew Sledd in the first half of Highland Park’s football game Friday night, and on nearly all 19 of his carries, the Giants’ tailback benefited from the solid work of his offensive line.
Even though HP eventually fell to host New Trier 35-28, the O-line play of Rob Heroux, Micah Silberstein, Jeremy Trudell, Salvador Vergara and Beau Falcon merits an extended look.
“We were getting off the ball well,” offered Heroux, a 6-foot, 195-pound senior center. “It’s all about staying low and having the right technique.”
Sledd danced through the openings to roll up 129 yards in the first two quarters. Three of his bursts (3, 2 and 12 yards) resulted in touchdowns.
“He never ceases to amaze me,” observed Silberstein, a 5-8, 200-pound right guard. “Every time he touches the ball, he’s incredible.”
Frankly, the “hogs” deserve similar praise.
“(The Trevians) have some big guys and good football players,” said Giants coach Hal Chiodo, whose club fell to 0-3. “Our guys hung in there and fought hard.”
Much of the fight began in the trenches.
“We used our quickness to take it to New Trier’s defense,” Heroux said.
Any good vibes for HP in the first half were erased in the third and fourth quarters, however. Sledd had five carries for minus-1 yard, and finished with 130 yards on 24 attempts.
“We had some let-ups,” Silberstein said. “If we had kept the energy from the first half, it would’ve been a better game. We have to keep fighting, regardless of what is happening on the field.”
Unity is not a problem for this group of linemen.
“We’re all pretty close friends,” Silberstein said. “We’re four seniors and one junior. The junior (Trudell) is like a brother.”
Heroux knows all about his trench mates.
“Micah’s aggressiveness is his best quality,” Heroux said. “He goes after people.”
Trudell, who plays left guard, is beginning to make a name for himself.
“He’s our biggest kid,” Heroux said regarding the 6-5, 230-pound Trudell. “In this last game, he was getting off the ball hard.”
Heroux said that both tackles are taking care of business.
“Salvador is a big, strong kid who can push people around,” Heroux said. “Beau is our biggest motivator on the O-Line. He really gets jacked up, and he gets everyone else going.”
When the defense takes the field, all of the linemen take a seat — except for Heroux. The HP linebacker made seven tackles against the Trevians.
“I enjoy playing both sides of the ball,” Heroux said. “I can hit people playing linebacker, and I like blocking on the O-Line. It’s a win-win situation for me.”
Heroux certainly has the respect of his teammates.
“Rob is an excellent linebacker and a great center,” Silberstein said.
As the Giants prepare to host Niles West at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14, it’s a good bet the line will continue to make holes for Sledd and provide protection for quarterback Tommy Sutker.
“Our goal is to get better every week,” Chiodo said. “And we’ve certainly done that.”