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Aurora Central running back Steve Amoni takes the safe route behind linemen Izzy Rosa (75), and Alec Licar (76). | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Never let it be said Steve Amoni doesn’t know which side of his bread to butter.
It’s why the Aurora Central running back and his dad treated his blockers to a steak dinner a few weeks back. Center Joe Cisneros, guards Mikey Malawski and Izzy Rosa, tackles Alec Licar and Luke Faltz, tight end Jake
McCarthy and fullback Steve Belovich joined them in chowing down at the Country Club.
“It was a joint idea of me and my dad (Larry), that if I was doing good, I should take the big guys up front out,” said the younger Amoni, who had topped 400 yards rushing through three weeks of the season.
“A lot of times those guys don’t get any credit. And without them, no matter how good a running back is, he can’t do anything. We gotta give those guys acknowledgement. They get stickers (for their helmets), but they normally don’t get anything in the paper.”
Amoni, who lives in Yorkville, said he learned his Foxes’ counterpart Anton Jones did the same things two days before him.
“I told my dad I had to take the tight ends, too, because that’s part of the line that works for me,” said Amoni, noting that Charger TE Sean Anger couldn’t make it due to an orthodontist appointment.
“And I also took my fullback because he leads up the middle and just puts his head down and runs people over and helps open up that hole. I want to be on their good side.”
So far, he has been.
No longer bothered by the hamstring injury that curtailed his activity last summer and the ankle ailments that slowed him during the season, Amoni leads a potent running game from either the wingback or fullback position. He averages 8.9 yards per carry (89 carries, 792 yards) and has scored nine touchdowns.
“I feel like I hit the holes fast and our line has been opening them,” said Amoni, admitting his listing of 5-foot-11, 200 pounds on the ACC roster may be a bit generous.
“I haven’t done too much running people over, but I try to bounce off hits and just keep my feet moving. My goals is to make it so just one person can’t bring me down, that it takes multiple people.”
So far, so good, said ACC coach Brian Casey.
“He’s the guy who’s made us go. We’re finding ways to get him the ball and he’s done a good job of learning the roles of both positions. … This is the hardest, most consistent he’s run since freshman year at the sophomore level,” said Casey.
“He’s had five games of 100 yards or more rushing and his work ethic is excellent. He’s the first one in the weight room and the last one out. Quite honestly, he’s one of the big reasons we are where we are.”
And the 4-1 Chargers seem poised to become postseason eligible for the first time since 1997. They host 1-4 Walther Lutheran in Friday’s homecoming game and 1-4 Guerin the week after that.
Of course, those same teams were a combined 3-7 last year at this point in the season and upset the Chargers by scores of 28-26 and 18-15, respectively.
“We went into those game with a little bit of a cocky attitude,” Amoni said. “We thought we were (in the playoffs) and didn’t come out to play and those teams played great against us. ... When the pressure was on, we kinda tripped and fell, I guess you could say.“
The seniors (this year) want this very badly,” he added.