By GEORGE M. WILCOX email@example.com
September 27, 2011
Two of the top linebackers from Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South share the same first name, but both play completely different styles.
Mike Cross of Hinsdale South is a 6-foot, 190-pound senior capable of playing all over the field as an inside linebacker for the Hornets’ 3-5-3 defense. Cross can drop back into pass coverage and even move up onto the line as a pass rusher. He had a sack for a loss of 5 yards in Hinsdale South’s 60-35 victory at Leyden Friday night. Cross even serves as a back-up quarterback to starter D.J. Deolitsis.
Mike Fikaris, a 6-2, 210-pound senior, missed all of Hinsdale Central’s 2010 season after breaking his left leg last summer. The first-time starter fits more the style of a bruising middle linebacker in the Red Devils’ 5-2 defense. Fikaris usually plays along side junior linebacker Andrew Pyle.
The two Mikes will play against each other for the first time when the Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South rivalry is renewed at 7:30 p.m. Friday at South in the Doings Cup.
“Last year we hoped we could come out with a win,” Cross said. “The juniors [last year] watched how hard the seniors fought. It should be a good, hard game.”
One of Fikaris’ biggest plays in Saturday’s 33-10 win over Lyons was getting his hand up in the second quarter to tip Connor Onion’s pass across the middle. Fikaris’ deflection turned into an interception for teammate Matt Helsley. The play started a late second-quarter drive for the Devils at the Lyons 44, but Alex Georgelos eventually missed a 44-yard field goal attempt with 38 seconds.
The Doings Cup game marks the debuts in the annual series for a pair of first year coaches: Central’s Rich Tarka and South’s Mike Barry.
Tarka, a receivers coach last season, will get his second dose of the annual rivalry between District 86 schools.
“It’s a good rivalry. I look forward to it,” Tarka said. “They are much improved under Mike Barry. He has done a great job turning things around.”
Barry played and graduated from Downers Grove North and is very familiar with the even longer Old Oaken Bucket series between Downers North and Hinsdale Central since 1935. Barry previously coached at Evergreen Park and is excited to be back in the West Suburban Conference and its rivalry games.
“It’s a heck of a rivalry [against Central],” Barry said. “Hinsdale Central is a heck of a team. They are a good team. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Hinsdale South opened in 1968, but it took until 1983 for former coaches Gene Strode at Central and Dave Smith at South to create the annual rivalry eventually called the Doings Cup.
© 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.