By Marty Farmer
After watching the Oak Park and River Forest High School football team dismantle Leyden 38-3 last Friday, I'm getting the feeling something special is definitely brewing in Year 3 of the John Hoerster coaching era. Granted, the Huskies' competition takes a major step up with a slate of West Suburban (Silver) Conference games starting Friday night at Proviso West, but OPRF looks scary explosive on offense and very physical and fast on defense.
The Huskies (2-0) have excellent depth at running back (among many positions) and offensive leaders Lloyd Yates, Jamal Baggett, Mike Hayden and Ryan Chancellor can hurt the opposition in a variety of ways. Andre Lee, Emonte Logan, Marty McAndrews lead a similarly impressive crew on defense.
The football buzz isn't exclusive to OPRF, however, as neighborhood rival Fenwick (even though the teams unfortunately don't play each other) is off a 2-0 start as well. The Friars wore down Bishop Lynch in the second half of their 34-12 victory in Dallas last week. Like OPRF, Fenwick features a strong running game although in a different fashion. Whereas the Huskies can throw out 4-5 running backs in their spread option offense, Fenwick rides the hard running of Robert Spillane. Throw in tight end Ryan Smith and wide receiver Rich Schoen plus efficient quarterback Gino Cavalieri, and it's apparent the Friars' offense features many weapons.
Fenwick has a tough one at Brother Rice on Friday at 7:30 p.m. If both the Huskies and Friars earn road victories this weekend, the burgeoning buzz around both programs will continue to grow.
To steal a line from ex-Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy when I think of the promise surrounding Oak Park high school football, I can't help but wonder, where else would I rather be than right here, right now.