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Maine South's Greg Ebacher protects the quarterback during Friday's game against New Trier in Northfield. | Nic Summers/for Sun-Times Media
NORTHFIELD — Greg Ebacher couldn’t forget one play from the 42-17 win over New Trier.
The Maine South senior offensive lineman surrendered a sack early in the fourth quarter Friday and, even after a night’s sleep, it ate away at him.
“It was a scissor blitz, and I just missed it,” he said Saturday. “He just snuck right under me. I didn’t keep my head up enough.
“It still bothers me.”
Ebacher said moments like that drive him to push his body to the limit.
Ebacher’s workouts are legendary among his teammates, mostly for his unwillingness to go any less than 100 percent or shut it down after a reasonable amount of time. Senior teammate Clay Burdelik has seen it firsthand as one of Ebacher’s exercise partners.
“I don’t work out with just anybody because I don’t like it when people slack off,” Burdelik said. “But I’ve learned when to stop. I don’t think he understands that. I tell him he can’t do 10 sets of squats in one day. Your body can’t handle that.
“But he works his butt off every single day. There comes a point when he needs to relax.”
Maine South coach Dave Inserra gets on Ebacher all the time about resting his body. Inserra said Ebacher missed nearly a month this summer because he was too banged up to go anymore.
“He’s sometimes too much of an animal, and it can drive you nuts,” Inserra said. “He’s the kind of guy when I tell to stop doing something and go to the sidelines, he’s over there doing push-ups and sit-ups.
“But I would rather have a player who does too much than too little.”
Ebacher, who seems to be constantly nursing some nagging injury, finally is admitting he might have overdone it in the past. Inserra said Ebacher is a role model for the Hawks, and the coach wants him to set a good example about fitness to other players, especially those on the lower levels.
“I do have to be smarter about it,” said Ebacher, who didn’t practice the day before Friday’s game against the Trevians and rested. “I know the team needs me to be healthy and on the field.
“I know I am a leader. I will do whatever the team needs me to do. I want to have a positive impact.”
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Ebacher starts at left guard on offense and at left tackle on defense for the Hawks, who won for the fourth time in a row Friday and now are 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the CSL South. He started both ways last season, too, but his time on offense was limited.
“I think he’s sometimes too hard on himself,” said Burdelik, who’s known Ebacher since elementary school. “In football, you are going to make mistakes. Other players are going to win some plays. After he missed that block Friday, he came to the sideline and said that will never happen again. He’s always trying to figure it out.
“What more can you ask for from an offensive lineman?”
Ebacher said he also gets his drive from his parents. His father, Mark Ebacher, started his own real estate development company.
“My parents didn’t have a lot growing up, so they both worked hard to get where they are today,” Greg Ebacher said. “I think that’s why I do what I do to be the best I can be.”