By Brad Spencer
One hundred yards rushing by one running back and a 50-yard run for a touchdown by another just wasn’t enough for the OPRF football team on Saturday afternoon. Despite a favorable ground game, the Huskies fell 24-13 at Hinsdale Central, a loss that crushed any chances of making the playoffs this season. OPRF is now 0-4 in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference and 1-5 overall on the season.
Running back Zach Draus, who emerged a rushing force in OPRF’s loss to Lyons Township the week before with 181 yards on the ground, racked up another 100 against the Red Devils. Draus’s effort helped tie the score at 7-7 in the second quarter when the senior scampered eight yards for a touchdown. But a touchdown pass from Alex Hodakowski to Ryan Kelleher for 22 yards with 1:16 left in the first half gave Hinsdale Central a 14-7 advantage at the break.
The Red Devils scored again in the third and nailed a 28-yard field goal in the fourth to seal the victory. OPRF’s Tony Stapleton, who saw limited carries due to a pulled groin muscle that had him miss the Lyons game, ran 50-yards for a touchdown with 4:49 left in the game, but that was all the scoring the Huskies managed in the final quarter. Stapleton finished with 72 yards rushing on five carries.
The Huskies host Morton next Saturday for their homecoming game. Kick-off is 1:30 p.m. The team hosts Proviso West on Oct. 15 (7:30 p.m.) for its final home game and travels to Downers Grove North on Oct. 22 to wrap-up the season.
With gusty winds causing havoc for anything in the air on Saturday afternoon at Morton West Stadium, the Fenwick football team was forced to keep things on the ground. The result was over 260 total rushing yards and a 17-7 victory over Providence, a team Fenwick had never beaten before in the football program’s history.
While Fenwick’s offensive line bulldozed its way past the Celtics, the defense forced Providence to take to the air, which ultimately led to the Friars snagging six interceptions, three of which were by junior defensive back Joe Kelly.
Celtics starting quarterback Joe Houlihan left the game at the end of the first quarter with a leg injury, and from then on the Friars zeroed in on backup QB Chris Salazar. Kelly grabbed two passes from Salazar in the second quarter alone, while Jack Stibich and Quinn Murphy caught two others in the same frame.
Stibich also racked up 102 yards rushing, including a 12-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put his team up 10-0. Zach Vergara’s interception helped set up a 35-yard touchdown run by Fenwick quarterback Pat Hart, who finished with 73 yards rushing on 11 carries.
The North to South wind was so menacing that in the fourth quarter the Friars punted for minus two yards.
Providence came within 10 after a three-yard TD run by Dan Potempa with a little over six minutes left in the game, but Fenwick’s final forced turnover – an interception by Kelly – eventually sealed the win for the Friars. Fenwick forced seven turnovers in all.
The loss for Providence marked the first time the team will not make the playoffs in 19 years. The win marked the first victory over a Catholic League Blue Division opponent in two years for the Friars, who are still holding out hope to make the playoffs this season.
Fenwick travels to Loyola Academy next Saturday (1:30 p.m.).