By Chris Vavra | For Sun-Times Media | @chrisvavra1
Hinsdale Central backup quarterback Jacob White was prepared when starter Chase Hamilton went down with an injury in the first quarter.
Hinsdale Central faced an unexpected challenge in its conference opener against York on Friday when starting quarterback Chase Hamilton went down midway through the first quarter with an ankle injury.
Hinsdale Central defensive coordinator Tom Dorrande on Sunday said Hamilton will be out for the season. Hamilton underwent surgery Monday morning.
The Red Devils were ready with Plan B.
Senior Jacob White, listed at running back and linebacker on the Red Devils’ roster, took over the helm and quickly allayed any fears with a sterling performance. If there were any nerves, White didn’t hint at any while piloting a consistent running attack to a 30-7 win.
“I felt great going out there. You don’t get many chances to do this and I knew the team was depending on me to step up,” he said.
Hinsdale Central coach Rich Tarka was confident in the senior’s confidence and leadership abilities.
“He’s a leader on the team, regardless of whether he’s a running back or a linebacker,” Tarka said. “He’s capable of doing whatever we need him to.”
Hamilton was just as assured of his 6-foot-1, 210-pound teammate’s ability.
“That kid is incredible,” Hamilton said. “He’s a tremendous athlete and one of the strongest and fastest guys we have on the field.”
Like many players thrust suddenly into the spotlight, White had some hiccups early. He fumbled a snap and threw an interception in the second quarter and had some trouble getting the offense adjusted to his style.
White and the rest of the offense regrouped in the second half and he delivered the game-clincher with a 68-yard run up the middle, slashing virtually untouched the entire way. He also did his part on defense as a linebacker, keeping the Dukes’ offense frustrated for most the game.
“I think game experience counts and playing the game is what gets you experience. Seeing what’s out there and learning from your mistakes and building on your strengths,” said White, who participated this summer in the Northwest Suburban Baseball showcase at St. Charles North.
And whatever minor missteps he encountered at first, it had nothing to do with not knowing the Devils’ offense or inability to make it run.
“We prepped him (White) more in the summer. And he’s got a few reps this week before the game. He knows the offense and he’s a real bright guy,” Hamilton said. “I knew he could win the game for us.”
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