Q & A with Phil Berton

OPRF senior, 6-4, 245-pound offensive tackle/defensive lineman

Phil Berton is one of the most well-liked players on the OPRF football team. His easy-going disposition off the field is in stark contrast to his intense nature on the gridiron. Before he resumes the business of collecting pancake blocks against defensive ends, I sat down with friendly Phil after a recent practice to find out more about the Huskies’ right tackle.

What are your recollections of last season? Last year was pretty awesome. We had a lot of great leaders who really helped us establish the strong foundation we have around the the football program now, and they were all stand-up kids. This season, me and my fellow captains [Lloyd Yates, Adam Lemke-Bell, Nathan Godwin) on the team are trying to build off what last year’s leaders started and keep the program moving forward.

Whats the best thing about being an OPRF player? I think all the guys on the team get along really well. The coaching staff is great, too. It’s that combination of the relationships shared between the players and coaches that makes OPRF football special.

What are your aspirations, personally, and for the team as well this season? Personally, me and my teammates along the offensive line just want to move opposing defenses as far back as possible. As a team, obviously we want to win conference, make the playoffs with a high seed, and then go deeper in the postseason than we did last year.

Would you like to play college football? For sure. I’ve been thinking about Harvard or Dartmouth. Those are the top two colleges I’d love to attend to get a great education and also have the opportunity to play football.

Is there a particular team within the conference you get particularly fired up to play? Every team in our league is pretty much a rival, but we’re definitely looking forward to playing Glenbard West.

What are the team’s strengths this season? We’re really fast and athletic. I think that separates us from most of the teams we’re going to play this season.

Describe the feeling when you take the field on a Friday night at Oak Park Stadium in front of your fans? It’s very special, an awesome feeling. There’s been a real shift in the community regarding people’s interest about the program and how much they care about OPRF football. Our fans are the best and very supportive.

Off the football field, what do you enjoy about OPRF? The school is great. OPRF offers pretty much everything a kid needs. We offer a lot of clubs, classes, sports. It’s hard not to have a good experience here.

What are three words that best describe you? I’d say hard-working, disciplined and smart.

What are three must haves in your refrigerator at all times? Milk, eggs and ground beef

What field might interest you in terms of a career? I think I’d like to go into business, probably attend business school.

What’s your favorite NFL team, who’s your favorite football player? My favorite team is the Chicago Bears and I like [Bears offensive lineman] Kyle Long.

What’s your favorite TV show, movie? TV show is Justified. For movies, I want to see Guardians of the Galaxy.

If you could pick an actor to portray you in the “Phil Berton Story,” who would you choose? Mark Wahlberg

What’s your favorite food? Spaghetti

What’s the greatest invention and why? I think electricity because is basically helps us to do everything.

If you could speak with any famous person-alive or dead- who would you choose, and what would you talk about? Talking with Michael Jordan would be really cool. I’d love to just hear his life story and how he came about who he is in life.

OPRF head coach John Hoerster’s thoughts about Berton

“Phil is an amazing young man. He’s unbelievably coachable, smart, tough, athletic and a team-guy. He is a true bookend to our left tackle Adam [Lemke-Bell], with comparable talent. Phil allows us to be balanced; we don’t just have to run to Adam’s side. He is another multi-sport guy, playing lacrosse in the spring. It is a testament to Phil, and an indication to all student-athletes, that you can play multiple sports, lift weights, and be an outstanding student if you truly work at it. Phil is a shining example of what high school athletics are all about.

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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...