The Incredible Hulk: Placer Hillmen’s Suverkropp leading team in tackles again

Senior says added muscle allows him to wear down opposing running backs
By: Matthew Kimel / Journal sports editor
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Tony Suverkropp is a tackling machine. “That’s a good way to explain him,” coach Joey Montoya said. “He’s a great football player and a great kid — a vocal leader.” The Placer High School senior linebacker, who led the team in tackles last season, has a team-high 41 tackles through five games this year for the Hillmen (5-0). At times it seems as if Suverkropp and the pigskin have a magnetic connection. “I like to think I was blessed with a pretty good ability to find where the ball is,” he said. Said Montoya: “He’s a got a great nose for the football.” Suverkropp is solely a defensive player, and in his opinion, there’s no better place to be on the field than stopping the opponent’s offense. “The thrill to chase somebody down and make the tackle is huge,” he said. “It’s such a rush.” Suverkropp earned a starting role on the Placer defense last year midway through the season because of his play-making ability, Montoya said. He recorded 113 tackles in 2011. In the off-season Suverkropp packed on some 20 pounds of muscle through a weight lifting program. Suverkropp believes that more muscle means more tackles. “Muscle makes the difference when I hit a running back,” the 6-foot, 205-pound Hillman said. “They’re about 180 pounds, extra pounds are a huge factor if I’m coming off the blitz. It wears them down when I hit them coming off the blitz. We’re hitting you every single play, it wears you down, makes you fatigued.” Suverkropp isn’t the only Placer player who bulked up since last season. “Compared to last year, we’re getting stronger during the season, we’re getting faster and stronger,” Suverkropp said. “We plan on being our strongest by playoffs — peak physically during playoffs. “You look at every great athletic program, they’re not getting weaker during their season, they’re striving to get stronger and better. We’re working really hard. By playoffs, we’ll be at our strongest, that’s just how it is.” By design, the Placer defense allows Suverkropp to make plays. “If I get the tackles, it means the D-line and everyone else is doing their job,” Suverkropp said. “Eddie (Vanderdoes) in the middle, Stone Sander, Wyatt Decker and Jake Lewis eat up room for me and allow me to get downhill and make tackles.” Suverkropp, who also calls plays, said the defensive unit has developed a great bond this season and is capable of winning titles. “Defense wins championships,” he said. “… We plan on winning a championship this year — you have to have a great defense to do that.” Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel