OPRF  35
Lyons 31

A week after playing the first night football game in OPRF High School history, the Huskies created more cause for celebration with a 35-31 win over Lyons Township on Friday at Bennett Field in Western Springs.

On the first play from scrimmage, the host Lions fumbled the ball and OPRF defensive lineman Kyle French recovered it at the LT 23. Three plays later, running back Tony Stapleton (45 carries, 264 yards) scored on a 13-yard run to put the Huskies up 7-0 at the 10:52 mark of the opening quarter.

OPRF (2-3, 1-2 West Suburban Silver) never looked back from there, surging to a 21-6 lead courtesy of a Stapleton 1-yard touchdown plunge and Darnell Lee’s spectacular 96-yard touchdown kickoff return. Lyons Township got on the scoreboard when quarterback Ryan Mitchell broke free for a 47-yard scamper into the end zone, making the score 14-6 with 44 seconds left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Mitchell rolled right and threw a 31-yard strike to Keenan Deer to cut the Huskies’ advantage to 21-13. OPRF responded with an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped by Stapleton’s 3-yard run to make it 28-13 with 6:24 left until halftime.

Lyons (3-2, 1-2) struck back when Nic Brown (7 carries, 95 yards) scored on an 11-yard run to pull his team within 28-19 at the 4:05 mark. A turnover on special teams allowed LT to take possession at the OPRF 11. Mitchell pushed his way to pay dirt on a 1-yard run to close the scoring at 28-25 during a wild first half that featured touchdowns on six straight possessions.

Mitchell finished 6-for-11 with 113 yards passing and nine rushes for 114 yards

Stapleton, who has filled in admirably for the injured Dorion Grant, scored his fourth touchdown of the night on a 13-yard run, extending the Huskies’ lead to 35-25 with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

“I have to give my [offensive] line a lot of credit,” Stapleton said. “They allowed a lot of good lanes and cutbacks, and I just kept on running hard. This was a must-win for us because we want to make the playoffs.”

The OPRF offensive line of Ben Carbery, Brad Oxnevad, Owen Budorick, Rich Ammons, Isaac Chadri and tight end Charlie Kowalski paved the way for Stapleton.

“I’m so proud of the kids to regroup after two very emotional games against York and Glenbard West,” said OPRF coach Jim Nudera. “We were able to run the ball and Tony did a marvelous job. Defensively, we were able to make some big plays when we needed them.”

The Huskies host Hinsdale Central for their Homecoming game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...