Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, September 23, 2011

Muskegon Chronicle: Plenty of football excitement for area gridders at Hillsdale

Tom Kendra
Muskegon Chronicle

Tuesdays with Tom ...
Another Saturday night home game, another thrilling victory for the Hillsdale College football team.
“Yeah, the last two games have been pretty crazy around here,” Tim Hornak said with a laugh. Hornak is a 6-foot-5, 270-pound starting sophomore left tackle for Hillsdale from Muskegon Catholic Central.

On Sept. 10, Hillsdale took advantage of a roughing-the-kicker penalty on the final play and made the second field-goal attempt in a 34-31 win against rival Grand Valley State.

On Saturday night, the Chargers did it again, this time pulling out a 40-34 victory in three overtimes against visiting Ashland in the second-longest game in school history.

Hornak is a BIG part of the Chargers’ success, having added 45 pounds to his 6-5 frame since leading MCC to a Division 8 state championship in 2008.

Other local players enjoying Hillsdale’s wild season are Ben Jones, a fellow Muskegon Catholic graduate who plays tight end in short-yardage situations; and Aric Geerlings, an East Kentwood graduate and Norton Shores resident who is a second-team linebacker.

Hornak and his twin brother, Jon, were recruited by Hillsdale where their uncle, Grand Haven native Pat Hornak, is the team’s tight ends coach and director of football operations.

Jon Hornak decided to focus on hoops and is a forward for the Aquinas College basketball team.
Hornak boys always have had great coordination and athletic ability for their height. Now that Tim has added plenty of “good weight,” as he calls it, he has earned the starting spot at the key left tackle position.

Left tackle is considered the most important of the five offensive line positions because that lineman must block defenders who are coming from the side of the field a right-handed quarterback can’t see — known as the blind side. The left tackle faces the top pass-rushers, which has made them a valuable commodity at all levels.

For example, the two highest-paid NFL players last year were quarterbacks. Atlanta’s Michael Vick and Seattle’s Matt Hasselbeck received $23.1 million and $19 million, respectively. The next two highest-paid players were left tackles: St. Louis’ Orlando Pace, at $18 million, and Seattles’ Walter Jones, at $17.7 million.

“It’s totally different than high school where I was run-blocking straight ahead on every play, going downhill and trying to drive my guy back,” said Hornak, 20, the son of Mike and Tina Hornak. “Now, my first step is back and I’m pass blocking on most plays.”

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