OPRF 7 7 7 14 35
GLENBARD WEST 0 7 7 0 14
If a football highlights reel is in the works for OPRF's smooth senior running back Levell Coppage, perhaps Roberta Flack's song, "Killing Me Softly," could serve as the perfect musical accompaniment to capture his elusive, efficient running style.
As he has done so many times over the last two seasons, Coppage "softly" dropped a big number on an opposing defense when he rushed for 154 yards off 23 carries Saturday to lead the host Huskies to a 35-14 win over Glenbard West.
On course to duplicate or better last year's 1,500-plus total rushing yards, the soft-spoken and affable 5-foot-8, 175-pound Coppage, in seemingly effortless fashion, has scored seven touchdowns this season. Considering that he has already toted the rock 51 times for 420 yards (8.2 yards per rush average) it's apparent a special campaign for Coppage is in effect.
However, the speedy senior's biggest play so far this season may have occurred on special teams for OPRF (2-1, 1-0 West Suburban Silver) against the Hilltoppers. Deadlocked at 14-all and with Glenbard West (1-2, 0-1) rapidly gaining momentum via a 5-yard touchdown run courtesy of Kane Kiernan (17 carries, 86 yards), Coppage changed the complexion of the game when he converted a fourth down and one on a fake punt attempt. Six plays later, Coppage scampered 33 yards into the end zone to reestablish a 21-14 lead.
"I saw something in their defense, and I knew we needed the ball at that time to regain momentum," Coppage said about the big play. "It was my option on that play. I saw a weakness in their defense and went for it."
Apparently, his fellow Huskies felt inspired by Coppage's cavalier play, tacking on 14 points in the fourth quarter to transform a tight battle into a relatively comfortable 35-14 victory in their conference opener.
Fully recovered from a dislocated right knee, OPRF quarterback Clarke Cuthbert completed 10-of-16 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Evan Scott (4 receptions, 66 yards) hauled in a 37-yard pass from Cuthbert for a score. Cuthbert also connected with Zach Howard on a 45-yard touchdown pass play.
The Huskies' diversified offense, which even included Coppage taking direct snaps, collected 11 first downs and featured five receivers with receptions.
In a symbolic gesture during pregame introductions, the OPRF defense, looking to rebound from giving up 35 points in a loss to Willowbrook, took the field as a unit. The collective approach carried over into a spirited game performance as the Huskies' Jonathan Bibbie, Mark Willis and William Lamar each sacked Glenbard West quarterback Andrew Baldwin.
"We were really mad about [Willowbrook] so we came out with a fresh new slate," said OPRF linebacker Hans Goldenberg. "We wanted to show Oak Park and this community who we are and how we go about winning games."
The Huskies travel Lyons Township Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Lions (2-1, 0-1) feature a few star players of their own in 6-4, 215-pound senior quarterback Ed Viliunas and defensive standout safety Alex Sewall along with an imposing offensive line. From LT's perspective, respect flows freely regarding the talented Huskies.