Hamilton gives Mundelein instant offense

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MUNDELEIN — Every time Mundelein senior running back Robert Hamilton touches the football, he’s a threat to score.

The beginning of the Mustangs’ 35-8 loss to Lake Zurich in Week 4 was a prime example.

Following a Bears touchdown, Hamilton grabbed a kickoff at his own 12-yard line, then sprinted upfield. One Lake Zurich tackler whiffed. Then another, as Hamilton used his tremendous agility to cut hard to his left.

Just when he appeared headed for the end zone, he was tripped up at his own 46-yard line. On the night, he had three kick returns for 75 total yards.

“I just needed one more block to take that first return to the house,” Hamilton said with a smile. “I was close.”

Hamilton already has a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns this season, though the Mustangs (0-4, 0-2 NSC Lake) have yet to pick up a win. His first was an 80-yard gem in the fourth quarter of Week 1 against Wheeling. He also ripped off a 91-yard return for a score against Highland Park the following game.

“Rob is our senior captain, and the talent he possesses physically is amazing,” Mundelein junior quarterback Colten Fisher said. “He’s one of those rare, special players who gives us a spark whenever he’s on the field. He’s got experience, he’s a motivator inside the locker room and best of all, he’s got a football IQ that’s off the charts.”

He can also be breathtaking to watch in the backfield. Though he only carried the ball 12 times for 48 yards against Lake Zurich, he hits holes in the line of scrimmage with rocket-like acceleration. The reason? Hard work.

“I do squats, lift weights with my legs and run hills, like the big [hill] near the park district in Mundelein,” Hamilton said. “I also enjoy playing in coach [George] Kaider’s offense, because much of the time, I’m in motion when I get the football. That helps, because I’m already nearing full speed once I reach the line of scrimmage.”

The Mustangs’ offensive line is anchored by senior guards Joe Nagel (6-foot-3, 280 pounds), Matt Spitzer (6-2, 230) and junior center Julian Quiroz (6-0, 281). It’s a huge reason Hamilton (5-7, 165) rushed 13 times for 88 yards and three touchdowns against Wheeling, along with a nine-carry, 92-yard performance against Highland Park.

Hamilton has 45 carries for 295 yards (6.55 yards per run) despite being keyed on by every defense he’s faced. He idolized former San Diego Chargers star LaDainian Tomlinson growing up, but now he watches Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy for inspiration.

“I know other teams are keeping a close eye on me,” Hamilton said. “It just motivates me that much more.”

Lake Zurich coach David Proffitt said Hamilton has tremendous talent.

“When we watched film of Mundelein, we knew Robert was a huge threat, and the kind of kid who could change the course of a game with a single play,” Proffitt said. “He definitely showed he has that capability against us, too.”

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