All-new defensive line helps Hinsdale Central shut down opponents

4 minute read

Gregg Voss

A year ago, Caleb Lagestee and Sam Booras played sparingly for the Hinsdale Central football team. Hayden Waters was on the sophomore squad.

This fall they form an effective defensive line in the Red Devils' 3-4 scheme. Lagestee and Booras are senior defensive ends and Waters, a junior, plays nose tackle.

"Speaking for all of us, I don't think we all really knew we were going to end up here," said Lagestee, a Clarendon Hills resident who got one start at middle linebacker last season. "At the beginning of the summer, our depth chart looked way different, I think. Everyone has gotten moved around for all the pieces to be put in place for us to have a good team."

While the Red Devils lost 14-9 at Glenbard West in West Suburban Silver action on Saturday, it was Hinsdale Central's first lost to an in-state opponent this season.

The defensive front did its job against the Glenbard West offense, holding the Hilltoppers to just one offensive touchdown, a 3-yard run by senior Dre Thomas with 32.3 seconds left in the first quarter. The other score came on an 88-yard kickoff return by junior Tyquan Cox late in the second quarter.

But that was it for Glenbard West. The three sacked senior quarterback Alex Hollensbe once and Lagestee fell on a drive-killing fumble early in the second quarter. Booras blocked a punt late in the third that was recovered by junior Aidan Cruickshank.

The three have come a long way since Game 1, a 43-14 road loss to Cincinnati's St. Xavier. Since then, they have helped the Red Devils hold opponents to an average of just 9.7 points per game.

Booras played primarily special teams and some tight end a year ago, but he slid into his defensive end spot with ease. However, he's quick to point out it's much different than playing offense.

"I'd say defense is a lot more physical because as an offensive tight end you have to know the plays and routes and everything and D-line you have to beat the guy across from you, get into your gap and do your job," Booras said.

Waters, a Hinsdale resident, had a different type of adjustment to make: He jumped from linebacker on the sophomore team to starting on varsity.

"I'd say definitely taking on double teams is the hardest thing," he said. "You really have to know your technique. If you flip your hips and get into the gap, they can't really move you, because you're in between both of them. The hardest thing is splitting the double team, and that's something I've worked on throughout the season."

On many effective lines there's a cohesiveness between the members and the Red Devils trio is no exception. The linemen go out for dinner every Tuesday. Often they eat a teammate's house or a fast-food restaurant. On occasion, they'll get together for a steak dinner. They also hang out off the field.

Their success also stems from hard work in practice, according to Hinsdale Central defensive line coach Tim Lambert.

"It's not just the three – it's the whole position group," Lambert said. "Obviously the front three are in the game, but it starts at practice with everybody giving everything, from the first guy in to the last guy in."

Gregg Voss is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

Twitter @Pioneer_Press

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