By Marty Farmer
OPRF senior quarterback Lloyd Yates can't wait for the high school regular season to start. That anticipation of opening day applies on two levels now as the dual-threat signal caller has committed to play college football for Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Yates will join OPRF teammate Adam Lemke-Bell, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound offensive tackle who committed to the Wildcats earlier this summer.
At the next level, the versatile Yates should flourish with his all-around physical ability, high football IQ and poise. Last season, He completed 120 of 190 passes for 1,958 yards and 20 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He also rushed for 849 yards and 10 touchdowns on 117 carries. He also had 21 punts for 720 yards.
Before he heads for Evanston, however, Yates is focused on building off last year's success with the Huskies.
Last season, OPRF finished with a 9-2 record, highlighted by a 5-1 runner-up finish in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division and a 35-13 playoff victory against Dundee-Crown in opening round action.
In the next round of the postseason, the Huskies fell behind early and never recovered en route to a 35-21 home loss against Maine South in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs. Against the Hawks, Yates played well despite the disappointing result, completing 18 of 28 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns (two passing/one rushing) along with two interceptions. The junior signal-caller also rushed 11 times for 124 yards.
"Last year was great but I felt like we didn't get as deep into the playoffs as we all expected," Yates said. "This season, I think we're all excited to have another great season and go further in the playoffs not only for us but the seniors from last year."
Along with Yates, the Huskies appear stacked offensively this season. Lemke-Bell and Phil Berton will anchor a huge offensive line and wide receiver KeJuan Ratcliff is a major threat in the passing game. Nathan Godwin, linebacker Marty McAndrews and sack-happy defensive lineman Allen Stallings anchor a defense featuring a plethora of promising juniors.