After three weeks of West Suburban Conference Silver Division slugfests, the OPRF football team welcomed a stress free and fun 58-7 win over visiting Morton on Friday night. OPRF scored all of its points in the first half, highlighted by a 42-point spurt in the first quarter, as eight different players scored a touchdown.

“The big thing we were looking for this week was how our kids would bounce back [after last week’s 21-17 loss to Hinsdale Central],” OPRF coach John Hoerster said. “Hinsdale Central is a pretty darn good football team, but we did not play well last week in any phase of the game.

“Tonight the kids came out and got it going early, created that spark and had fun. Everyone got an opportunity to get out there and be assessed and coached. That’s valuable because when you get in the playoffs, you need all hands on deck.”

Kamal Bey started the scoring barrage when he ran 66 yards on a punt return for a touchdown on the fifth play of the game. On the Huskies’ ensuing possession, running back Antonio Cannon scored on a 25-yard run off the left side extending the lead to 14-0. Quarterback Lloyd Yates (5-for-6, 96 yards, 2 TDs) threw touchdown passes of 6 yards to both Ke’Juan Ratcliff and De’Viaughn Benion (three catches, 47 yards) to make the score 28-0 midway through the first quarter.

“This was our last home game so we wanted to score big and give everybody a chance to play,” Bey said. “We had a good start [tonight] and that’s what we need to do in the playoffs. We need to flip the switch early and be ready to play well.”

OPRF found some other creative ways to score as the lopsided quarter wore on. Defensive lineman Connor Nelson recovered a fumble at the Morton 2 and pushed into the end zone. When Morton punted later in the first quarter, Bey caught the ball and threw a pass across the field to fellow returner Dallis Flowers, who sprinted 70 yards for another touchdown and 42-0 lead at the end of the quarter.

“Before Dallis returned it, I literally envisioned him making that run,” said Cannon, “and then it actually happened. It’s great having guys like Kamal and Dallis back there. Our special teams players are a threat at all times. You can’t take us lightly.”

Quarterback Sam Pochyly contributed a 2-yard touchdown run and Rollian Sturkey scored the Huskies’ third special teams return for a touchdown on a 53-yard kickoff run midway through the second quarter to push the advantage to 58-0.

“It was very important for us to execute tonight to get some momentum going into the playoffs,” Cannon said. “Now that we have some momentum, we’ll go to work and prepare for the playoffs.”

Ravon Woods and Evan Bell led OPRF defensively with four tackles apiece, while  Erik Renteria and Jahmari Moore chipped in 3.5 tackles each. Jack Kotte had an interception. Multiple players saw action for OPRF, which created four takeaways and held Morton scoreless until the 8:48 mark of the fourth quarter.

“I think we have enough talent to get things done in the playoffs,” OPRF senior defensive end Jelani Onigbinde said. “We just have to focus and execute. I don’t think about the entire playoffs. I just think about winning the next game. Everybody wants to win a state championship, but it takes a 1-0 record each week.”

Huskies focused on Class 8A playoffs

OPRF (7-2, 4-2) now turns its attention to the Class 8A playoffs which kick off next week.

Comcast SportsNet Chicago will air live coverage of the “IHSA Playoff Pairing Football Show” on Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. The show, which will reveal the brackets and first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes, can also be viewed via live interactive stream on the internet at and

Other than competing in the aforementioned Class 8A bracket, the Huskies won’t know which team they’ll face or where until the playoff pairing show reveals the matchups.

“Our players are going to get a weight lifting session in and we’ll work out a bit [on Saturday evening],” Hoerster said. “Then we have some pizzas coming and we’ll watch the pairings show on a big screen in the school cafeteria.

“Some of the coaches’ families will be around and my kids. I like my kids and the players to spend some time together. It’s a good time for all of us to spend together and kind of refocus.

After a couple of second-round postseason exits the past two seasons, the Huskies are relatively well-versed regarding the inherent challenges, intensity and excitement associated with “the second season.”

“The playoffs are a new season,” Hoerster said. “At the start of the year, you’re only guaranteed nine games. We have been fortunate enough to do some good work this year which allows us to play 10. We’ll focus on preparing for that tenth game and go from there. Hopefully we can keep this team together because it’s a lot of fun to coach. I enjoy being around these players.”


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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...

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