GLEN ELLYN – The biggest obstacle for Hinsdale Central this fall hasn’t been the tough opponents that the Red Devils have seen on a weekly basis.
Instead, what has proved most challenging is trying to overcome the injury bug.
Playing at less than full strength Saturday, Hinsdale Central was no match for defending Class 7A state champion Glenbard West in a 37-7 defeat.
With the loss, the Red Devils fell to 3-2 on the fall.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like this,” head coach Rich Tarka said of the rash of injuries. “Just a lot of bad luck.”
Already without starting quarterback Chase Hamilton, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in a Week 3 win over York, back-up signal-caller Jacob White was limited against the Hilltoppers because of an ankle injury and did not see any time at linebacker. Add in a banged up offensive line and Hinsdale Central has become pretty predictable on offense.
Against Glenbard West, the Red Devils did not complete a single pass.
“We were down to our No. 3 quarterback [Ben Stefani] and he is our starting running back,” Tarka said. “It’s kind of rough. We have a big O-line but we are not real diverse right now. When everyone knows you are running the ball, it’s hard to control things. It’s hard to get anything going consistently without a passing threat.”
Most affected by the injury to Hamilton has been Michigan recruit Ian Bunting, who has been held to three catches on the season. The senior nearly pulled in a big pass against Glenbard West, outjumping a pair of defenders for a catch deep in the end zone while drawing a pass interference penalty, but he was ruled to come down out of bounds.
“It’s been frustrating,” Tarka said.
“When Chase went down, we knew we’d have some limitations. We’ve been working on it, but last week wasn’t the week to get it going.”
One ray of optimism lies with the fact that Hamilton could return before season’s end.
“Four to six weeks was the window,” Tarka said. “So hopefully [he will return for] the last game of the season and hopefully beyond if there is a beyond.”
Hinsdale Central scored its touchdown on a 13-yard run by Juwan Edmund in the second quarter, but was otherwise held in check by tough Hilltopper defense.
The Red Devils return home for their homecoming game against Lyons Township at noon Saturday.