Vernon Hills defense blanks Round Lake

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VERNON HILLS — As a child, Vernon Hills defensive lineman Steven Didier loved to show pigs at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

But he decided to trade in the pigs for tackling the guy with the pigskin. Didier made 11 tackles, four for a loss with a quarterback sackas Vernon Hills defeated Round Lake 50-0 in a North Suburban Conference Prairie Division game Friday.

“I showed pigs until I was in sixth grade and then I chose to concentrate on playing football,” said Didier, whose team improved to 3-2, including 2-1 in conference play.

Vernon Hills coach Bill Bellecomo must be happy with that decision.

“Steve is quick off the ball and reads defenses well,” Bellecomo said. “He has a work ethic that you don’t really see nowadays.”

Didier, a senior, grew up cleaning vegetables and packing and lifting boxes on his family farm, Didier Farms in Lincolnshire. His two brothers, David (a 2007 Vernon Hills graduate) and Wayne (2011) both played at Vernon Hills on the defensive side of the ball.

“My brothers have really helped me out,” Steven Didier said. “Wayne played my same position and helped me at defensive tackle in the summer after practice. David was an inside linebacker and he showed me how to tackle.”

“If it’s a Didier, you know you’re getting a great player on defense,” Bellecomo said. “All three were three-year varsity starters and defensive standouts.”

Besides his play on the defensive side of the ball, Steven Didier also helps cover kickoffs for the Cougars.

“I love it,” Steven Didier said. “It gives me another chance to make tackles.”

The other thing that Steven Didier, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, relishes is his weight lifting.

“In the summer we’ll have double sessions and then Steve goes to crossfit training at night,” Bellecomo said. “He commits himself in the weight room and has become a very strong kid.”

Vernon Hills senior outside linebacker Alex Rodriguez lines up next to Steven Didier on most snaps.

“He’s a tank out there,” Rodriguez said. “He’s strong and he can hit.”

Although football has taken up most of his free time, Steven Didier still goes to the Lake County Fairgrounds to watch his twin sister Maggie show pigs. Next year, Steven Didier hopes to be playing college football.

“There are three schools I’m looking at right now, Wisconsin-Lacrosse, Wisconsin-Whitewater and North Central College,” he said.

The Cougars offense was just about as perfect as the defense in this NSC Prairie contest. Junior quarterback Connor McNamara threw four touchdown passes to Kiwanne Durant, connecting from 28, 51, 17 and 25 yards. McNamara finished the game 22-for-40 for 302 yards with one interception, while Durant had 11 catches for 191 yards. Junior running back Andres Salazar carried the ball into the end zone on 8- and 7-yard runs.

Round Lake (1-4, 0-2) was led by senior running back Chris Perry, who tallied 78 yards on 19 carries with four receptions for 46 yards.

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