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Gorman: Veterans Day a special day in Slomka’s home

Tribune-Review
| Tuesday, November 11, 2014 3:36 p.m.

Veterans Day is a special day in Connor Slomka’s home, one he said was “very important” even before the Pine-Richland star running back committed to play for Army.

Slomka’s father, Jim, also attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and later was an assistant athletic director at Army. Slomka’s attitude of gratitude isn’t limited to wanting to serve his country.

A 1,000-yard rusher as the feature back of a power offense as a sophomore and junior, he has been overshadowed by 3,000-yard passer Ben DiNucci after the Rams switched to a spread.

Still, the 6-foot, 220-pound Slomka has rushed for 1,036 yards and 27 touchdowns this fall — hurdling a Central Catholic safety in stride on one — for No. 1 Pine-Richland (11-0), which plays McKeesport (10-1) in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals.

DiNucci and Slomka have formed a formidable one-two punch as the rare 6,000-yard passer and 3,000-yard rusher in the same backfield.

“I’d take everything we’ve had this year over (statistics),” Slomka said. “This year has been so fun for everybody.”

Choosing to play football at West Point and the mandatory military service that follows was no small matter to Slomka.

He had committed to a lacrosse scholarship to Ohio State as a sophomore, but decided that football was his favorite. And if he was going to football, he wanted to play it at West Point.

“I definitely grew up around it but I don’t think I can ever be prepared for it until I get there,” said Slomka, who lived on campus as a child. “It’s a huge opportunity, to get an education I couldn’t get anywhere else and to serve my country.”

And a very important one.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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