At 5-foot-10 and maybe 140 pounds, Carmel senior wide receiver/running back Christian Heinz does not have the size of the prototypical football player.
Heinz may look more like an accountant, but he’d be a number cruncher with a knack for finding the end zone. Heinz already has scored six touchdown this season, three of which came Friday in a 35-23 ESCC loss to Marist.
“You almost worry in practice that he might get hurt, but he’s such a smooth runner and (receiver) that he never really gets hit,” Corsairs coach Andy Bitto said. “He can make people miss and he’s pretty fearless.
Senior Nick Grandolfo said the offensive line enjoys blocking for Heinz.
“He’s shifty and when he’s out in the open field he’s really quick,” Grandolfo said. “He’s smaller than most people but he’s played football a long time and has focused on it.”
Heinz said he never let his size prevent him from thinking like a football player.
“I grew up loving the sport,” he said. “I like getting the ball in my hands with a chance to make plays. I go 100 percent on every play and try to (initiate the contact).”
Although Heinz does not weigh much more than he did as a junior, it is not for lack of trying.
“I’ve been lifting weights and eating a lot,” he said. “My mom always tells me that I’ll look back on (my metabolism) and think that I was lucky.”
As a junior, Heinz was a reserve running back. He has moved to wide receiver this season, but the Corsairs (1-5, 1-3 ESCC) still line him up out of the backfield on occasion.
“I like the fact that at wide receiver there are more opportunities to make bigger plays,” he said.
Two of Heinz’s three touchdowns against Marist came via the air. On the second touchdown, a 17-yarder from quarterback Michael Huiras, he lined up in the backfield. He was supposed to run a wheel route but realized quickly that the middle of the field was open.
“I’ll probably get chewed out for that on Monday,” he said with a smile.
It was another game where Carmel moved the ball effectively between the 20-yard lines. The key for the Corsairs, beginning with Friday’s home game against Joliet Catholic, is to consistently finish off drives.
“We definitely played better against Marist,” Heinz said. “If we can play with that mentality the rest of the season we should do very well.”