From the first possession on Saturday, it was clear that the OPRF football team had worked hard over the summer in preparation for this year. The Huskies came out of the gate strong and moved the ball down the field with efficiency, eventually racking up a 42-12 season opening slaughter of Larkin.
On their first drive, Cedric Rowland gave the Huskies a strong return on the kickoff, and then four successive handoffs to De'Angelo Wisdom moved the Huskies well into Larkin territory. The drive ended with an interception on an overthrown ball from quarterback Rick Foytik, but that didn't seem to matter. The Huskies showed a powerful offense early, and continued the surge throughout the game.
"Most of the up-the-middle plays worked really well for us," said running back Willie Funches, who split the majority of the Huskies' running game with Wisdom. Gaps created by OPRF's offensive line were abundant throughout the game.
This enabled Wisdom (133 yards on 20 carries; 6.7 yards per carry) and Funches (112 yards on 10 carries; 11.2 yards per carry) to freely move the ball down the field.
"You had a one-two punch back there," said OPRF head coach Jim Nudera.
The offensive line also gave Foytik (8-of-13, 124 yards, 4 TD, Interception) plenty of protection in the quarterback slot, enabling him to hit his receivers.
"He threw the ball well," said Nudera of his QB, "and the receivers made the catches."
Larkin jumped on the board first, scoring off Foytik's errant pass in the first quarter. But the Huskies showed tremendous hustle on defense early. Ben Johnson caught up to and tackled a Larkin player on a 66-yard run, which would have otherwise been a touchdown.
After Larkin scored, the Huskies rebounded and scored on their next possession. A drive down the field with rushing from both Funches and Foytik ended with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jason Simmons (5 catches for 93 yards; 3 TD), which Foytik placed perfectly out of reach of the Larkin defender covering Simmons.
After two tackles for losses in Larkin's next possession, including a third down sack by Dan French, the Huskies forced Larkin to punt without getting a single first down. The Huskies then moved the ball with the same alacrity that they did on their first drive, and Foytik capped the drive off with a nearly perfect touchdown pass to Rowland.
The Huskies forced a Larkin turnover on the next possession with Brett Schiffman's interception, though this was negated only several plays later, when Foytik fumbled.
The Huskies stopped Larkin, however, and Foytik hit a wide-open Simmons for a 31-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-6.
OPRF and Larkin both scored touchdowns again before the end of the first half, with Foytik running the ball in from eight yards out.
The second half was much the same as the first. Funches and Wisdom ran circles around the Larkin defenders, and Foytik again hit Simmons with a touchdown pass. Wisdom ran a touchdown in, and the Huskie defense did not allow Larkin to score again.
"I think we played very well," said Nudera, who was very satisfied with how the Huskies opened their season. "We played as a team, and we made some key plays when we needed to."
Foytik echoed his coach's remarks, saying that he was satisfied with how the Huskies had prepared themselves.
"We just looked like a playoff team today, and we feel like we're coming together on a higher level now."
Going into next week's game against 15th-ranked Downers Grove South, the Huskies are hoping to continue what they did against Larkin.
"We want to do everything that we did [against Larkin]," said Funches, "but we want to do it a little bit better and a little bit more, because Downers South is a little bit better team."