Downers North 42

The Homecoming festivities during halftime of OPRF’s showdown with Downers Grove North on Saturday afternoon gave a packed stadium of Huskie fans reason to cheer. The game itself was a side show at best, and not a very good one.

The Huskies (4-3, 2-2) endured a 42-0 thumping at the hands of the 13th-ranked Trojans (6-1, 4-1), who did their best work in the first half when they took a 35-0 lead.

OPRF zeroed in on Illinois-bound Garrett Edwards, but it wasn’t so much Edwards that did most of the damage in the West Suburban (Silver) Conference contest.

Downers North scored on its second possession of the game when Justin Shelley, who had recently returned to action following a suspension at school, burrowed in from three yards out with 3:11 on the clock in the first quarter. The TD was setup by a 30-yard Edwards to Connor LaVallie pass reception.

Brendan Briscoe’s extra point put the Trojans up 7-0, which would change to 14-0 just two minutes later before the end of the quarter.

Shelley struck again with a 40-yard scamper for a TD, followed by Briscoe’s extra-point kick. With 9:41 on the clock in the second, Maxwell Gilbert scored on a 4-yard run, followed by a 72-yard TD dash by Shelley (135 yards, six carries), who left the game via ambulance in the fourth quarter with a severe concussion.

Justin Brown returned from a groin injury to start at quarterback for OPRF, but spent much of his time scrambling about the pocket. Brown connected on 6 -of-16 passes for 93 yards.

When Edwards wasn’t running Downers North’s offense (4-of-8 for 109 yards and 65 yards rushing on 16 carries), he was busy covering OPRF receivers. The Huskies’ Jason Simmons was held to just two catches for 34 yards.

OPRF’s De’Angelo Wisdom rushed for 30 yards on 10 carries, and the Huskies managed just three first downs the entire game.

“We just did not play well,” said OPRF head coach Jim Nudera. “We were outmatched on both sides of the ball, and we made some critical errors.”

Nudera said Ricky Foytik will return to action this week to start at quarterback against York (Friday, 7:30 p.m.). Foytik suffered a broken collarbone Sept. 3 against Downers Grove South. Other key players expected to return to the starting lineup this week include Jeremy Potts and Willie Funches. Tight end/linebacker Jon Meacham suffered a strained right groin in Saturday’s game and is day-to-day.

The Huskies close out the regular season against Glenbard West on Oct. 22 (1 p.m.). A victory in one of the next two games could put OPRF on the bubble for a playoff spot. If the Huskies win-out then they’ll make the playoffs for the first time since 1998.


Conference standings


Lyons 4-0 5-2

Downers North 4-1 6-1

York 3-1 5-2

OPRF 2-2 4-3

Hinsdale Central 1-3 4-3

Glenbard West 1-3 3-4

Proviso West 0-5 2-5

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...