FORT WAYNE – All the great defensive front fours seem to have cool nicknames. But Leo’s four defensive linemen – seniors Logan Glaze and Bryce Hager, junior Klay Biggins and sophomore JuJuan Allen – go about their business without a flashy handle or a lot of the fanfare.
That doesn’t mean those four are any less a focal point of a defense that is giving up 5.8 points per game, third in the state, working out of the team’s 4-4 defensive formation.
It’s great to be able to be the support for the whole defense and have it focused around us, Hager said.
Leo coach Jared Sauder called them the biggest defensive front line the program has ever had.
We are usually bigger than the O-line, so that helps, Glaze said. We are all athletic, and we run to the ball. We haven’t faced that many people who are bigger than us. When we do, we have good technique so that helps too.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Hager and 6-3, 334-pound Allen are at defensive tackle, while the 6-6, 270-pound Glaze and 6-2, 210-pound Biggins are the defensive ends.
We have individual nicknames for each other, but we don’t have a name for the whole defensive line, Allen said.
Individually, Glaze is simply Glaze, Allen is Big Nasty, Hager is the Lawn Gnome and Biggins is Runt.
We are one, big group of happy guys playing football, Biggins said.
Glaze, who did call the Lions’ front four Big and Good to get about as close to a nickname as there is, said the key to the defensive line’s effectiveness is its ability to command double teams and keep offensive linemen from being able to block the team’s linebackers.
There are not enough blockers to block all of us, Glaze said.
The Class 4A No. 5 Lions (10-0) will put it all on the line in a sectional semifinal matchup against No. 9 East Noble (8-2) tonight.
They are pretty similar to us, but I think our defense can shut the run down, and we should be in tip-top shape, Biggins said.
It might be an offensive line that finally matches up with Leo. Maybe.
East Noble has a pretty big line, Glaze said. Not as big as ours, but they are pretty big.
Glaze leads the way with 34 tackles, 5 sacks and 5 tackles for loss, while Hager has 37 tackles and 1 sack, Allen 31 tackles and 3 tackles for loss, and Biggins 18 tackles and a sack. With the exception of Allen, the other three have been playing together since junior high, and they all talked about the chemistry they have developed.
The four, who also spend time on the offensive line, have made life easier on the defensive backs. The team has 17 interceptions, led by Jordan Eldridge’s six.
We get good pressure on the quarterback so they can get bad throws for our DB’s to pick off and get in (the quarterback’s) head the whole game, Hager said. We like to be physical and really pound at the offensive linemen and wear them down.
And it is done almost anonymously, which is tough to say about four pretty big guys.
We are pretty used to it, Allen said of the lack of attention. There have been a lot of picks this year from the defensive line pressure. We don’t get noticed for it, but we do it.