A pep talkin' from your armchair coach

From the editor

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BRAD SPENCER

Do you want to keep talking about it? I bet you do. Well then gather round. Take a knee. You can take your helmets off too, I promise not to throw the clipboard at your head again.

After all you did it, you shocked the world. Well, you shocked the area, or better yet the people in the stands at Oak Park Stadium on Saturday afternoon. You shocked them. Heck, I bet you shocked yourselves. Feel it? That's 20-million volts of sweet glory. But now you know. Not one of you, with the exception of Peter Kowalczuk (6-foot-1, 273), could stand up to those behemoths alone. But all of you together as one unit, sent the Hinsdale Central Red Devils burning like crotch-itch.

Listen up! No talking!

You did it. You Justin Brown. You came in for the injured Rick Foytik (broken collarbone) and gave Kyle Orton a map on what to do against Detroit. You went 13 for 33, passing for 224 yards. But most impressively you didn't get rattled on third down. The pressure of third down has the power to cripple. It can make a sane kid do the craziest things. Recent studies indicate there's a direct link between third down pressure and Attention Deficit Disorder. But you stood your ground, stayed poised, even looked comfortable in such a situation. Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job. And of course, I mean it. Game ball to you Brownie.

Jon Meacham it says here on this stat sheet you caught seven passes for 129 yards. Well, heck you accounted for most of the team's offense in the air. You Jon Meacham are like Spider-Man. While Jason Simmons played the part of unselfish decoy, you spun your web around Hinsdale's secondary. Your coach can't get the image of you in the final minutes of the game out of his mind.

"A lot of impressive plays stand out in my mind, but the one that comes to the forefront is when it was second down and seven on Hinsdale's 39, and Jon was pretending to block when Justin tossed him a pass. He was off to the races, ended up near the 1-yard line," remembers Jim Nudera, OPRF's still-reeling head coach. "That was a defining moment."

OPRF's entire defense deserves a steak dinner. Here, chomp on this Red Devil carcass I found on the 18-yard line.

Most of you play both ways, yet you managed, during the most rigorous moments of a football game, to hold Hinsdale Central to just 84 yards of total offense in the second half. When the muscles ached and you were a human glob of sweat and bruises, you held the line. You forced yourself to cause fumbles. And while your brethren pressured Hinsdale's shivering backup quarterback, you Max Brooks, knocked the wind out of the Red Devils with your interception. Game ball to you Max Brooks.

Next business. The journal of Sam Frank should read: Saturday, Sept. 17, kicked a weighty 34-yard field goal to give my team an early lead against tyranny. My sophomore season is turning out to be quite exhilarating!

Game ball to you Sam Frank.

I'm leaving some of you out like De'Angelo Wisdom and Jeremy Potts, but it's early in the season. The most important thing is that you now realize what you can do when everything your coaches have been instilling in you works.

"The question has been answered," says Nudera. "They know that when they play together they can win."

That's right. Game ball to all of you.

Okay, now hit the showers!

CoNTact: bspencer@wjinc.com

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