In recent years, the Oak Park and River Forest High School football team has enjoyed the luxury of dynamic wide receivers.
Blessed with size and speed, players like Ke’Juan Ratcliff, Simmie Cobbs Jr. and Jared Scott are just a special few that come to mind.
Junior Trevon Brown looks like the next great wideout for the Huskies.
Just six games into his varsity career, Brown has shown a knack for making clutch plays on the field and putting up big numbers in the scorebook.
In the Huskies’ season opener against Simeon, Brown made a spectacular diving catch in the right corner of the end zone late in the fourth quarter to tie the game. OPRF made the extra point to pull off a 29-28 comeback win.
In Week 3, Brown caught six passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-13 loss against reigning West Suburban Conference Silver Division champion Hinsdale Central.
He led OPRF in receiving over the weekend as well, pulling down seven receptions for 68 yards in a 28-23 loss against Downers Grove North.
“Trevon is going to be a special player,” OPRF coach John Hoerster said. “He’s at a different level and a phenomenal young man.”
Although his name shows up on the stats sheet frequently, the selfless Brown credits his teammates for creating his opportunities to succeed on the field.
“The seniors have really helped me out and have showed me the way,” Brown said. “Making the plays I’ve made are not only by me. All the yards I’ve gained are for the whole team because the offensive line is blocking, the quarterback is looking for me, and the defense gives us the energy and opportunities to make plays.”
Brown also credits the OPRF coaching staff and family members for fostering his development.
“All my coaches, from Little Huskies until now, have taken me under their wing to try and make me better,” Brown said. “My uncle also played for Oak Park and has given me a lot of helpful pointers about the game.”
Time and talent are on Brown’s side.
Considering he’s only a junior, Brown should continue to make a major impact on the field and boost the strong football culture Hoerster has established at OPRF.
“I like how I’ve adapted my game to the mental aspect of football,” Brown said. “I’m doing a good job of not just depending on my talent. In the offseason, I want to get faster and stronger while getting smarter in terms of my football mentality.”
At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Brown is a gifted athlete who also participates on the OPRF track and field team. He competes in the 400-meter dash, triple jump and high jump.
A primary goal for Brown is to play college football. That aspiration seems realistic factoring in the Huskies’ recent success with wide receivers advancing to the college level. In four games, Cobbs Jr. has 23 catches for 272 yards and three touchdowns for Indiana. While Scott has yet to record a catch at Wyoming, head coach Craig Bohl is very high on the 6-6, 215-pounder’s potential.
Hopefully, Brown will earn a similar opportunity.
“I went to a Mizzou (University of Missouri) camp over the summer,” Brown said. “It allowed me a chance to get more experience in seeing all the talent that’s out there and meet new people.”
Huskies upset by Downers North
Whatever happens the rest of the season, OPRF will remember Friday’s 28-23 loss against visiting Downers Grove North.
The Huskies squandered a 17-0 halftime lead and the Trojans reeled off 28 unanswered points en route to victory. With tough conference games remaining against Glenbard West and Lyons Township, OPRF (4-2, 1-2) is a long shot to win the West Suburban Silver.
Nevertheless, the Huskies will focus on playing more consistent football to punch their ticket into the Class 8A playoffs.
Against Downers Grove North, the game was a tale of two halves.
OPRF senior quarterback Brian May opened the scoring on a 29-yard touchdown run. Kicker Henry Darrow added the extra point to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead with 9:42 left in the first quarter. Keith Robinson added a 2-yard TD run and Darrow kicked the PAT, extending the lead to 14-0 at 4:42 of the second quarter. Darrow made a 27-yard field in the closing seconds of the first half to give OPRF a 17-0 halftime lead.
Downers Grove North running back Drew Shelly rushed for three touchdowns in the second half to fuel the Trojans’ rally. Two of his TDs occurred during a critical six-minute span midway through the fourth quarter which gave Downers Grove North a 28-17 lead.
OPRF sophomore quarterback Toby Kunkel scored on a 10-yard run with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring at 28-23.
Kunkel completed 14 of 22 passes for 144 yards and three interceptions. May went 8-for-9 for 58 yards and ran seven times for 51 yards.
Top running back Terrance Roundy was held in check, rushing for 46 yards on 13 carries. Brown (7 catches, 68 yards), Robinson (7 catches, 48 yards) and Craig Shelton (4 catches, 46 yards) led the Huskies in receiving.
OPRF travels to Elmhurst to take on York Friday, Oct. 6. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
West Suburban Silver standings:
Hinsdale Central 4-0 (5-1 overall)
Glenbard West 3-0 (5-1)
Lyons Township 2-1 (5-1)
Downers North 2-2 (3-3)
OPRF 1-2 (4-2)
York 0-3 (0-6)
Proviso West 0-4 (1-5)