Deerfield’s ‘O’-line shines in early going

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The T-shirts feature a Warrior head and the words, “We are the reason.”

Deerfield senior guard David Lebovitz and his teammates on the offensive line all wear the shirts under their uniforms. Offensive line coach Steve Downs presented the shirts to players during training camp to reinforce the message that what happens up front can set the tone for the entire game.

“It (reminds) us that what we’re doing on the offensive line is important,” Lebovitz said.

The play of Lebovitz and the offensive line has been a bright spot during a tough start to the season for the Deerfield football team. The Warriors are coming off a lopsided 48-0 loss to Glenbrook South Sept. 12. They return to action at New Trier at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

“We have good chemistry on the line and I think for the most part we’ve executed well as a unit,” Lebovitz said.

For Lebovitz, just having a chance to execute is a blessing after a frustrating, injury-riddled junior season. During the final practice of two-a-days, a teammate was pushed into him and accidentally rolled up on his right knee.

“It was pain like I never felt before,” said Lebovitz, who before that point had never sustained a serious injury.

The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Lebovitz suffered a torn MCL in his right knee and missed the first four games of the season. When he returned to the field, he was rusty and needed reps to acclimate himself to the tempo of varsity football.

In a practice leading up to the final game of the season against Highland Park, a teammate again rolled into him and he suffered another torn MCL.

At that point, Lebovitz resolved to make the absolute most of his senior season. Throughout the winter and into the summer, he threw himself into his workouts like never before.

“I was determined to be more aggressive and put in the work to (be ready),” he said. “It’s my senior season and I wanted to put it all on the line.”

So far, he has met the challenge.

“He’s worked really hard to become a special player,” Downs said. “He’s a guy that I think the juniors look up to and I’m really excited to see the way he finishes the season.”

Coach Steve Winiecki said Lebovitz is among the team’s most improved players.

“He’s one of our most consistent linemen,” Winiecki said. “He fought through the injuries and has been doing a great job on the line.”

Winiecki could tell from the first practice in training camp that Lebovitz was primed for a big senior year.

“He matured physically and he knows what he has to do every play,” Winiecki said. “He made sure to get the reps he needed and he also coached up his backups to make sure those kids would be ready to play.”

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