Esters Leads Cedar Hill Defense By Example

Charles Esters III
Photo courtesy Cedar Hill ISD

What Does Longhorn Speed Mean?

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) ‘Longhorn Speed’ has nothing to do with 40-yard dash times or how quickly a defensive player can get to the quarterback.

“Longhorn speed is not about speed at all,” Cedar Hill Defensive Coordinator Demarcus Harris said. “It is all about playing as hard as you can, for as long as you can. So that late in the games your opponent can’t keep up.”

Most football players are ready to go in the first quarter, but what sets the Cedar Hill defensive players apart is their ability to maintain that intensity through the fourth quarter, and if necessary, into overtime.

Cedar Hill senior defensive end Charles Esters, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound Texas Tech signee, exemplifies “Longhorn Speed” as the team’s defensive leader.

“Charles gets better as the game goes on and it’s evident as he takes over games late – that is Longhorn Speed!,” Harris said. “Charles is a special pass rusher because of his quickness, strength and length. But above all, he has a motor and drive to sack the quarterback. He will not be denied.”

Esters and the Longhorns (12-1) will face Katy (13-1) in the UIL Class 6A Division II State Championship Game at 1 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

An Impact Player

“Charles does his job in big time situations,” Cedar Hill head football coach Carlos Lynn said. “He’s an impact player, and he’s always there in the clutch.”

A lifelong Cedar Hill resident, Esters has played football since he was in pre-school. During those days, he played defensive end and running back, but he gravitated toward the defensive side of the ball.

“I like hitting people more than I like getting hit, most of the time,” Esters said. “I lead by example. I’m not much of a talkative leader.”

As a fifth grade scholar at Joe Wilson Intermediate in 2013-2014, Esters was an avid fan of the Longhorns. He admits that he paid more attention to the 2013 and 2014 State Championship Teams’ offensive stars than the defensive leaders.

Now, he’s on the same stage as the Cedar Hill players of a half-decade ago.

“Reaching the State Championship Game feels amazing,” Esters said. “We put in the work during the offseason, played tough games and we trust each other.”

Making History With The Longhorns

Esters is part of the first Cedar Hill Team to record a playoff shutout. A week after Cedar Hill’s 27-0 first round win over Bryan, the Longhorns duplicated that feat in a 45-0 second round victory over Tyler Legacy.

“I believe we are one of the best defenses to come out of Cedar Hill, just because of those two shutouts,” Esters said.

In three other regular season games, Cedar Hill held opponents to just a single touchdown.

But Esters said the most memorable part of this season wasn’t making program history but rather what they learned from a 28-14 loss at then #2 Duncanville on November 6. Few teams have held the Panthers below 30 points.

“I always want to get a sack, apply pressure and try to change the course of the game,” Esters said.


Charles Esters III
Charles Esters III signs with Texas Tech Photo by John Askew

Esters received his first scholarship offer during his junior season, which was his first year on varsity. It was from the University of Kansas.

The offers kept rolling in, until Esters ultimately chose Texas Tech University over the University of California. He is one of two Cedar Hill Longhorns, along with senior quarterback Kaidon Salter, committed to a university in a Power 5 Conference.

“The coaches at Texas Tech showed me a lot of love, and I really thought the school and stadium were nice,” said Esters, who is the only Cedar Hill football player to sign with a Texas-based university.

Esters has succeeded academically at Cedar Hill and plans to study Business at Texas Tech. As a junior, he began focusing on football solely. Prior to that, he played the Tuba in the Marching Band and on the basketball team.

‘All The Tools To Be A Great College Player’

Choosing a university just five hours northwest of Cedar Hill will allow Esters’ family and friends to attend home games in Lubbock, as well as road games at TCU, Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma – all of which are within three hours driving distance.

Esters hopes to be on the field as a true freshman when the Red Raiders open the 2021 season against the University of Houston at NRG Stadium in Houston – home of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

He also hopes to lead Texas Tech to its first ever Big 12 Championship, which would mean another trip to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

The Red Raiders are well known for their prolific offenses over the years.Esters said he believes the defense can reinvent its narrative over the next few years.

“We have some good recruits, including some good junior college linebackers, and we’re going to have a strong defense,” Esters said.

Harris knows that Esters’ best days are ahead of him, in Lubbock.

“He has all the tools to be a great college player,” Harris said. “He has just touched the surface of how great he can be.”