OPRF       17
Proviso W. 6

The OPRF football team had a special advantage arrive just before kick-off of what ended up being its 17-6 West Suburban (Silver) Conference victory over Proviso West in Hillside on Friday night – the weather.

A hard rainstorm before the 7 p.m. kick-off made for wet and muddy field conditions, causing havoc for Proviso West’s pass-first offensive strategy but fitting in perfectly to OPRF’s running game plan. While the Panthers had a difficult time getting USC-bound wide-receiver Kyle Prater the football, OPRF running back Tony Stapleton tore the sod up for 195 yards on the ground. The senior carried the ball 41 times.

“When the weather turned out like it did we had to change some of our philosophy, but not by much,” said OPRF head coach Jim Nudera. “We didn’t want to put all the attention on Prater, but we mixed it up and the weather became a factor for both teams.”

Stapleton scored from a yard out with 44 seconds left in the first quarter. A 20-yard field goal by Isaac Chadri put the Huskies up 10-0 just before halftime.

OPRF quarterback Jack Rogalla (3-of-6, 60 yards passing) connected with Zach Draus in the fourth for a 48-yard touchdown.

The Huskies (4-4, 2-3) held the Panthers scoreless until the final seconds of the fourth. Amir Arif, who was playing ill, intercepted twice for OPRF.

The Huskies will try to keep their playoff hopes alive when they host Downers Grove North (1-7, 0-5) this Friday night (7:30 p.m.). With five wins OPRF would be eligible for an at-large playoff birth. The Huskies currently have 37 playoff points. Usually the cutoff is 36, depending on how other teams finish.

“We’re aware that Downers North has a record of 1-7, but we won’t be fooled by that,” said Nudera. “They are a fundamentally sound team, and we cannot go into the game thinking they won’t compete hard. They’re a playoff team from last year that can be extremely dangerous.”

The Huskies haven’t made the playoffs since 2006.

The regular-season finale will be OPRF’s second night game since lights were installed at Oak Park Stadium before the start of the season.

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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...