The stands were covered in camouflage to commemorate Veterans Appreciation Night, but on the field it was the home blue of Sandburg’s defensive line that proved to have the best disguise.
Sandburg’s front four — Robert Boyd III, Louis Paleothodoros, David Farrell and Billy Gore — was sly off the ball, gobbling up nearly every rushing attempt the Stagg option attack could muster.
The foursome helped limit Stagg to 57 yards on 24 carries as the Eagles steamrolled to a 54-7 win Friday night in Orland Park.
“We don’t have the size — I can say that right now — we’re not a very big defensive line, but we have the mentality and the speed,” said Gore, who had one of two fumble recoveries created by the front four.
Gore and Co. harassed Stagg quarterback Adam Pilota from the start, knocking the junior out of the game on a first-quarter hit. Stagg never recovered, falling behind 21-0 on a 48-yard touchdown run by Lemonte Booker less than a minute into the second quarter.
It was a short night of work for Booker. The Southland’s leading rusher touched the ball only six times but produced a whopping 101 yards and three touchdowns.
“We know he’s got some speed, and tonight we saw a little more of the physicality he’s capable of running with,” Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said.
Sandburg quarterback Jim Hill made his first start and impressed with his legs. He had first-half touchdown runs of 19 and 3-yards.
Mike Greico and Brett Reid also ran for touchdowns.
Equally impressive was Sandburg kicker Jonathon Milazzo, who booted field goals of 46 and 32 yards. Milazzo was 6-for-7 on PATs.
The lone highlight for the Chargers was a 26-yard touchdown pass from Steve Kubiak to Vito Cali. Despite trailing the entire game, Stagg attempted only four passes.
Numerous men and women of the armed services were in attendance for the game, with several Sandburg graduates and area veterans honored before kickoff.