By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Machesney Park Harlem running back Kevin Witcik is closing in on 2,000 career rushing yards. When he gets there, he will be the 23rd running back in NIC-10 history to do so.
Entering the game against Belvidere Friday, Sept. 14, it was going to take a massive effort to get there. He needed 213 yards to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark.
He didn’t quite make it against the Bucs, but he made quite the effort with 188 yards on 17 carries. And with the way he runs, he may pass that mark with his first carry against Rockford Auburn this week.
A great group of running backs graduated last season from the NIC-10. Dontrell Chance, Tyries Thomas and Austin Smaha were all great runners.
While Rockford Jefferson’s Garrett Perry leads the conference in rushing and DeMarcus Vines of Rockford Boylan Catholic may be the most dynamic rusher, Witcik has established himself as the conference’s most feared runner.
“He’s pretty good,” Harlem Head Coach Jim Morrow said. “I’ve been saying that all along. He gets a lot of hard-earned yards, yards after contact. There’s not too many like him.”
Witcik, if he wanted, could get by on speed alone. The senior is a state-level sprinter, and when he gets behind the defense, no one is catching him from behind.
Combine the speed with his vision, and he gets really good. Witcik has the agility and footwork to stop on a dime and change directions, and often seems to be a step ahead of the defense.
All of that makes him good. It is his physical play that makes him great.
At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, he combines his speed with his size and runs through people just as often as he does around them. It takes multiple defenders to bring him down.
Witcik says every time he gets the ball, he is trying to squeeze an extra couple of yards out of every play whenever he gets hit.
“I just try to finish runs with my shoulder pads square,” Witcik said. “Get the tough yards and try to fall forward for a couple more, and you get first downs easier.”
From the Sept. 19-25, 2012, issue