You didn’t have to look at the scoreboard to see how the football team fared Friday night.
The tears in the eyes of many players at the end of the game told the story.
In another heartbreaking loss, the Huskies saw a terrific comeback in the second half wiped out late first by a Hinsdale Central touchdown and then by a lost fumble. The result was a 34-29 loss to the Red Devils in an eventful West Suburban Conference Silver Division game in Oak Park.
It was the fourth loss in a row for the Huskies (2-5, 1-4). The last two have been the toughest.
A week earlier, they on the final play of the game. This time, they came back from a 28-14 halftime deficit to claim a 29-28 lead in the fourth quarter – only to watch Hinsdale Central (5-2, 2-2) win on a couple big plays.
“We’re close,” OPRF coach John Hoerster said. “We’re close. We are close. You see the (fans in the) stands applauding these guys (after) the effort they gave in the second half. A lesser team would have called it quits. I’m really proud of the kids. Their effort was tremendous.”
OPRF junior Jakari Cammon ran 32 times for a career-high 234 yards. He scored three touchdowns.
The Huskies took a 7-0 lead on Cammon’s 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and was poised to add to it when it attempted a 32-yard field goal on its next possession. But Hinsdale Central’s Peter Foley blocked the boot and teammate Brad Anlauf scooped up the ball and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.
The Red Devils scored touchdowns on three of their four possessions in the second quarter. Brian Owens connected with Anlauf for a 31-yard scoring strike and then the visitors put together a 12-play, 88-yard drive capped by Owens’ 5-yard keeper for a touchdown to stretch their advantage to 21-7 with 4:09 left in the first half.
The Huskies closed within 21-14 when Cammon returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
Hinsdale Central’s Andrew Pyle blocked an OPRF punt that was recovered by teammate Matt Helsley on the home team’s 31 with 1:29 remaining in the first half. A couple plays later, Danny Callahan scored on a second-effort, 2-yard run to enable the Red Devils to go up 28-14.
In the second half, OPRF received an 8-yard touchdown run by Cammon, a 27-yard field goal by Sebastian Madala and a 17-yard TD run by Jamal Baggett to move ahead 29-28 with 11:51 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Red Devils eventually answered with a touchdown to take a 34-29 lead when Owens lofted a high pass into the right corner of the end zone that was pulled down by Anlauf over a defender with 2:44 remaining.
“I threw the ball up to Anlauf and he made a big play,” said Owens, who went 21-of-38 passing for 279 yards and three touchdowns. “That’s just him making a play right there.”
Anlauf caught 11 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
OPRF drove to Hinsdale Central’s 25, but the Huskies lost a fumbled exchange recovered by Kevin Kiyosaki with 1:04 left that sealed the outcome.
“I just saw the ball flying and I dove on it,” Kiyosaki said. “I feel pretty relieved.”
“The kids were making plays,” Hoerster said. “The line was blocking their butts off. It was just a bad exchange. That happens. It just happened at the wrong time for us.”
OPRF sophomore quarterback Jacob Lintvelt completed four of six passes for 30 yards while rushing 12 times for 28 yards.
“He’s a fiery kid,” Hoerster said of Lintvelt. “He’s a competitor. He completed some good passes. He smart decisions. He made some plays with his legs (for) some big runs. He provided some balance to our offense.”