Huskies quarterback Jack Rogalla was expecting a big crowd Friday, but says he still was overwhelmed to be a part of OPRF’s first night football game.
“It was louder than a regular Saturday game,” the 17-year-old senior said after practice on Monday.
For linebacker Brock Friesen, 17, there was another difference: no trees in the background. “All you saw was the field, which was great,” Friesen said.
The players had plenty of family and friends in the stands for the historic game. About 5,500 people were in attendance, leading school officials to close the gates after the stadium’s seating capacity was reached.
Kaleb Conway, who plays linebacker, had supporters make it in just in time. Conway and other players didn’t think they’d ever get a chance to play under lights. They recall showing up for three years of meetings that deliberated stadium lights – the Oak Park Plan Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals – to show their support.
“When it happened, I didn’t believe it, because it had taken so long,” said Conway, 17, of the Village of Oak Park’s approval in May, which concluded a years-long effort by the high school to light its stadium.
Peter Thomas, whose son, Rickey “Ferrari” Fleming, plays cornerback, said he would have loved to have played under lights. A 1980 OPRF grad, Thomas also was a Huskies cornerback. He was at the game Friday with friends and family, including his grandson, Jabari, “a future Huskie.”
“It’s the largest crowd I’ve seen in 30 years,” Thomas said.