Providence’s Leo Slepski stated he tries to his mannequin his recreation after Justin Herbert.
The sophomore quarterback has adopted Herbert’s profession from when he was a star at Oregon to being a standout behind heart within the NFL with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Slepski likes what he sees, on and off the sector.
“I’ve been watching him ever since college,” Slepski stated of Herbert. “In faculty, he at all times had the grades, and he was at all times an important quarterback. He simply had all of it, which is good.
“He’s a good leader and is a great role model to me. He can throw the ball. He’s good with his feet. He’s smart. Everything a good quarterback needs.”
The Celtics additionally like what they’re seeing from Slepski, who took over the reins in Week 4 of the common season and has been attempting to show into an entire package deal like Herbert.
So far, Slepski is progressing fairly properly. He accomplished 7 of 8 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday’s 42-12 win over Hillcrest in a Class 5A second-round recreation.
Providence (7-4) lastly hosts its first playoff recreation at 3 p.m. Saturday in opposition to Highland (10-1) within the quarterfinals.
It’s true that two of Slepski’s three TDs Saturday have been quick passes, with receivers Xavier Coleman and Seth Cheney doing the heavy lifting on positive factors of 62 and 71 yards, respectively.
But it’s additionally true Slepski can thread the needle, connecting for an ideal 20-yard TD to Mitch Voltz on a fade proper after the identical play from the 15 was known as again by a penalty.
“He’s getting there,” Providence coach Tyler Plantz stated of Slepski. “He had a number of weeks of rising pains up thus far, however he’s finished an excellent job of taking up all of the strain of taking part in within the state playoffs.
“He’s done a good job in the pocket. He’s communicating the plays. I’m real proud of the way he is playing.”
Voltz appreciated Slepski’s skill to place the ball at a perfect spot — over his shoulder — two performs in a row.
“He makes great decisions and puts the ball where it needs to be,” Voltz stated of Slepski. “And he makes great reads on the running side.”
Slepski confirmed there’s strain and nerves being a younger beginning quarterback for a group with Providence’s profitable custom.
“It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s good pressure,” Slepski stated “It’s nothing that I can’t handle. I could be nervous all day at school or when I get on the bus, but once I’m on the field, I’m just locked in and ready to go.”
He additionally credited his offensive line of Chris Piazza, Koda Miller, James Barry, Bryce Tencza and Matt Hough for giving him time to throw the ball.
For the second straight 12 months, Providence took a 5-4 report into the playoffs. Last season, the Celtics have been in Class 4A and made the state championship recreation earlier than dropping 44-20 to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin.
This time, they’re in 5A, however that storyline is about as much as repeat itself. Scoring a season-high 42 factors in opposition to Hillcrest — all within the first half — has given Providence loads of confidence.
Slepski, who performed on the freshman and sophomore groups final 12 months, additionally was on the scout group for the varsity, so he did get a taste for a way the 2022 season performed out.
“It’s pretty familiar,” Slepski stated. “But this 12 months, we wish extra. We wish to end it.
“We’re ready to go. We have everything clicking, and now we have to keep going.”
Jeff Vorva is a contract reporter for the Daily Southtown.