I am overseas on vacation at this time and won’t be at tonight’s Oak Park and River Forest High School’s first-round Class 8A home game with New Trier. But I’ll be keeping my eye on the Huskies. I have covered six games this season, and I feel something special about this team.

The Huskies are playing with pride and purpose. More than any other OPRF team in recent memory, these young men are playing for each other; they are playing as a close-knit family.

As Marty Farmer and I have alluded to, defense has been the Huskies’ strong suit, especially against the run. The offense has gradually improved as the season has progressed, and special teams have been consistent.

In terms of intangibles, these guys love playing for head coach John Hoerster. He has been an inspiration all season. The fact he was able to coach at all this year after suffering a serious heart attack over the summer has fueled the Huskies’ strong play.

Now, we head into the Second Season – the IHSA Class 8A state playoffs. As you know, 8A is a very difficult journey to navigate; whichever team wins the title will have truly earned it as there are several top teams competing. There are no easy games because every team in the 32-team field is truly deserving of its spot.

Clearly, this will not be an easy road for OPRF. But being that tonight is a home game, The Dog Pound can play a pivotal role in the Huskies winning and advancing to the next round. Game time is at 6:30 p.m. so show up to OPRF Stadium as early as possible. Bring noisemakers like cowbells, horns, bucket drums, etc. Always encourage the guys. And when the defense needs to get a big stop on third down, get up on your feet and yell. Make OPRF Stadium a loud, intimidating environment for the visiting Trevians. A packed stadium that is loud and boisterous will give the Huskies an added boost.

This team has the makings to go on a special run this postseason, the run Huskie Nation has been waiting for the program to go on. But again, you fans can be of great assistance to the guys.

So whether or not you are a parent or relative of a football player, friend, band member, cheerleader, drill team member or simply a fan of the Huskies, get out to OPRF in your Orange and Blue gear tonight. 

This is truly a great day to be a Huskie.

I hope to celebrate an OPRF win tonight by eating some delicious Borscht and Varenyky and drinking a few Uzvars.

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