Defense key to Hinsdale Central start

3 minute read

By George M. Wilcox

For the first two weeks of the young season Hinsdale Central has surrendered only three points.

Hinsdale Central still hasn’t given up a touchdown this season, although Leyden scored in the fourth quarter Friday night.

Mark Wach’s 21-yard field goal ended Hinsdale Central’s shutout streak of seven consecutive quarters to begin the season.

Behind quarterback Brian Owens and running back Jack Adams, the Devils are moving the ball and scoring points, but Hinsdale Central is winning with defense.

The Devils beat Leyden 17-3 to head into the start of West Suburban Silver play Friday night at Proviso West with an undefeated record.

“It’s experience and speed,” Devils coach Rich Tarka said of his defense. “They play well together as a unit. They love to play defense.”

The leader is 6-foot-2, 209-pound senior Andrew Pyle, the team’s top returning tackler, who dabbled as a running back at times last season.

The most recognizable number (41) from last year’s defense, the Hinsdale resident can always be found in the middle of the scrum. But Pyle has help from a linebacking corps that is developing as the strongest unit of the defense.

Former Hinsdale South assistant coach Tom Dorrance is in his second year as Tarka’s defensive coordinator. Dorrance’s son, Jake, is a junior linebacker with the Hornets.
“(Our linebackers) have a lot of speed. That’s something all season they have been working on,” Dorrance said. “Brian Griffin has done a heck of a job as the linebackers coach.”

The linebackers and the rest of the Hinsdale Central defense limited Leyden running back Mickey Gulo to two rushing yards on 16 carries. Gulo carried 26 times for 209 yards and two touchdowns a week earlier against Fenton. Even when Leyden reached the Hinsdale 4 midway through the fourth quarter, it was still in doubt whether the Eagles (1-1) would score before settling for Wach’s field goal.

Leyden gained only 89 yards of total offense.

Hinsdale’s three linebackers are a different individuals. Pyle and Jack McGann are seniors from Hinsdale, but the 6-3, 208-pound McGann was a defensive end last season and has made the move to a new position.

Junior Jacob White, a 6-1, 205-pound native of Clarendon Hills, has fit right in with the seniors. He played both offense and defense on last year’s sophomore team and even filled in as a temporary quarterback at the West Suburban Conference 7-on-7 passing scrimmage in June.

“I feel really good after two weeks,” White said. “We’ve done our job. We’re having fun and we leave the rest up to the offense.”

For Pyle, his success this season has come from having one more year’s worth of experience. This year, he can comprehend more pregame video study of his opponents and institute that knowledge at game time.

“We are reading everything this year. I know what’s going to happen before every play,” Pyle said.~.

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