-This is the second in a series previewing Friday's "Showdown in Motown" Western Big 6 Conference football game between Alleman and Rock Island. Coming Wednesday: Pass the ball|
Adam Hoogerwerf cannot remember exactly why he was given the nickname "Bobo," only the origin of it.
"My (paternal) grandpa gave it to me when I was 2 months old," the Alleman senior football player said. "He explained it to me and I didn't get it. I just went with it."
Since then, Bobo has stuck.
"I don't remember the last time I have ever called him Adam," Alleman senior quarterback John Tracey said. "I honestly didn't even know his name until high school."
Whatever you call him, it does not matter.
Bobo knows football.
Name something that needs to be done on the field, Hoogerwerf can do it. Blessed with a unique nickname and natural football ability, this gifted running back/defensive back has been the Pioneers' secret weapon as they enter Friday's Western Big 6 Conference championship game against Rock Island at Moline's Browning Field.
"He's certainly a special player," said Alleman coach Dave DeJaegher, who calls Hoogerwerf by his first name. "He gives us a lot of energy and makes big plays for us. He's super important for us. For the last couple years, we've been very fortunate -- he's made a lot of big plays for us."
Standing 5-foot-11 and listed as 160 pounds, Hoogerwerf is the atypical size for a football player, but one that is perfect in the Alleman system. He has proven that in every game this season.
A clutch third- or fourth-down catch, he delivers.
A big play on a punt return, he finds a way to score.
A gain on an outside run, he gets the yards.
A pass breakup on defense, he makes the play.
"He makes things happen," DeJaegher said. "A really good football player. He has some good football sense."
With good instincts and vision, Hoogerwerf averages 18.6 yards per reception and 6.1 yards per carry. He ranks second in the Big 6 in receptions (20) and receiving yards (371) while gaining 224 more on the ground.
Some people also forget that Hoogerwerf has completed both of his pass attempts this season for 54 yards and added a punt return for a touchdown.
"You go out there and you play," Hoogerwerf said. "If something happens, great. Obviously, everyone wants to go out and make plays and make a difference. Sometimes, it just happens."
Making a play simply comes natural.
"You just don't think about it and you just play," Hoogerwerf said. "You act like you're in your backyard and you block out the crowd and the hype. You get in your zone and play your game. That's when all the big plays happen."
Some leave an impression.
Two weeks ago at Galesburg, he made two leaping, highlight-reel catches on his way to his second 100-yard receiving night on the season. One catch came as the defender was flagged for pass interference.
"I always look for him. I know he's a playmaker," said Tracey, who has completed 20 of his 25 passes to Hoogerwerf. "I always have a positive attitude that he's going to make a play and make something happen. He's a really good player."
Above all, he's scrappy.
"I like to compete," Hoogerwerf said. "That's what I'm going to do no matter what I'm doing."
Possessioning special talent, Hoogerwerf goes about his business while being called a special nickname.
"I've never heard anything different," Hoogerwerf said. "It doesn't bother me when I meet someone new and they're like, 'What is Bobo?' I just have to explain it."
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