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Week 3 Player of the Week: Chris Heredia – Butler

A little less than ten months ago, Butler senior quarterback Chris Heredia was coming off an average season at quarterback. He ended up with about 1,200 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in a season where he mostly handed the ball off to a backfield that totalled over 2,200 yards rushing yards. But that was then. Now, Heredia is a new man weighing fifteen pounds lighter and armored with a few extra layers of muscle mass.

In just three games, Heredia has passed for 58 completions on 86 attempts (67%), 1,052 yards, 10 touchdowns, zero interceptions and rushed for one touchdown. This past week, Heredia (also known as CH1 by his coaches and teammates) exploded for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Bulldogs 32-0 defeat over Whippany Park.

This performance earned Heredia Morris Sussex Football’s Week 3 Player of the Week. George Muha caught up with CH1 to talk about his off season leading to his senior year, his big offensive line and where he sees this team in December.

George Muha: Is your arm sore from throwing so many touchdowns?
Chris Heredia: My arm does get sore from throwing all week in practice. The touchdowns take away the soreness.

GM: Good answer! Did you come into this season thinking your team would have so much offensive firepower?
CH1: Yes, of course! We had to come in with the firepower after losing 90% of our offense to graduation. We had to work and believe in each other to discover the weapons we have.

GM: Why do you think this particular Bulldog group is having so much success?
CH1: I mean we all have been playing with or against each other since about kindergarten. So we all complement one another well and its just clicking this year.

Butler’s Chris Heredia leads all Morris Sussex quarterbacks with 1,052 yards and 10 touchdowns.

GM: Last year you weighed 190lbs. This year you came in about 15 lbs lighter. Why did you cut down your weight and how did you do it?
CH1: I wanted to lose the weight for myself, but more importantly the team. I didn’t believe in myself that I was a huge part of the offense last year. I was more a guy who handed the ball to our great runningback. So in the off-season our team started going to a gym in Pompton Lakes called Cannonball Gym run by Austin Wall (former Olympic wrestler). It was there we endured grueling workouts for hours at a time, four days a week. There I dropped about 20 lbs to help incorporate more elements to my game and to the offense.

GM: What player is your favorite target?
CH1: There is no favorite target. Our offense is designed to get the fast guys open. If they can catch it, they can score it.

GM: What is it like throwing behind a line stacked with those big boys?
CH1: Its hard to see when you have two guys above 6’5” and the other linemen that are 6’1” and 6”. Its exciting to be able to complement those big guys with a good pass or run. They are led by left guard Tom Arabia. He’s the shortest of the line, but most definitely one of the most dominant/passionate players in New Jersey!

GM: Who on your team is the unsung hero?
CH1: Nick Kapusta (RT/DE #50) is the without question our unsung hero. Nick has been a receiver or running back ever since we were little and this year he did something for the benefit to the team. As one of the strongest guys on our team he converted to a linemen. For his first year, he is a force to reckon with down in the trenches.

A leaner Heredia forces opponents to prepare for him as both a passing and running threat.

GM: Wow, big props to Kapusta! Who are the guys that keeps things loose?
CH1: Kirc Bargamento (WR/DB) and Ryan Minogue (WR/DB) are probably two of the most laid back people you’ll ever meet and keep everything smooth and crisp. They both display great composure and lead by example. It speaks volumes to the other guys on the team.

GM: What was the funniest thing Coach Matsakis has ever said or did?
CH1: Coach Matsakis is the real deal. The man has had my utmost attention and respect ever since I met him my freshman year. The jokes stay within the team.

GM: What was the most motivating things he has ever said or did?
CH1: Austin Wall had told us this story once during a workout that Coach Matsakis brought up before a game by saying “B.T.B”. When Cortez sailed across the oceans to conquer lands in Central America they came to a halt before they came to shore. Looking out to sea they were over matched because on land the Central Americas had over 100,000 men and Cortez only had about 500 men. They knew they were going into their death and Cortez had to think of something to say to his men to prepare them. “Burn The Boats” he said to his men to symbolize the point of no return, fight or die! We say “Burn the Boats!” as a team and go to the point of no return before we run out onto the field.

GM: Is there a conditioning drill that everyone hates?
CH1: On Saturday mornings, after the games, we run the track around our field for what feels like an eternity when you’re banged up.

GM: Do you have a pregame ritual?
CH1: When we run out on the field, I give a speech to the team before the game to get us ready for the war that’s about to occur.

Butler coach Jim Matsakis is one of the most successful coaches in North Jersey during his tenure.

GM: Who is your biggest role model?
CH1: Austin Wall! The man changed my life forever this off-season and i’m forever grateful. He, to me, is the epitome of what all athletes/people should resemble.

GM: What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
CH1: I can see myself with some sort of college degree, with a good job and of course being involved in football. Perhaps coaching or something.

GM: At the end of the day, what would a successful season look like for this Bulldog team?
CH1: North 1 Group 1 State Sectional Championship! It’s been just a dream since grade school. It’s time to live the dream!

GM: Good luck Chris! Hope to see you at MetLife in December!

[divider][/divider]

The 2012 Week 1 Predictions were sponsored by Football University, JointCare Physical Therapy, StopExercising.com, Mendham Creative and Nuzzi & Mason.

Public Service Announcement: Make smart decisions. Don’t do drugs.

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George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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