Oak Park-River Forest football season preview

2014 schedule
Aug. 29 at Lincoln-Way East 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Leyden 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 12 Proviso West 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Downers Grove North 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 York 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Glenbard West 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 Lyons 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Hinsdale Central 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 Morton 7:30 p.m.

Best game on the schedule: OPRF at Glenbard West at Duchon Field, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4

For conference runner-up OPRF, all roads to the title run through Glenbard West, which has won 18 consecutive Silver contests. The Hilltoppers won 20-14 last season in Oak Park to hand the Huskies’ their only conference loss. The new Huskies defense will have to find a way to stop Glenbard West quarterback Kyle Kramer and favorite target Aidan Gould. This is OPRF’s lone regular season game on Saturday.

Best-case schenario: “Our best case scenario would be if we don’t lose any games,” coach John Hoerster said, joking. The Huskies will feature a pair of Northwestern recruits in quarterback Lloyd Yates and offensive tackle Adam Lemke-Bell. Yates’ new receivers are senior Kejuan Ratcliff and junior Cole Fields, a transfer from Mundelein. “Our best case scenario is if the kids with returning experience lead us on the team. If those experienced guys truly become great leaders and build off what we accomplished last year,” Hoerster said.

Best position group: “This year’s offensive line has the potential to be one of the great OPRF offensive lines. They are from top to bottom a really strong group and a pleasant group to be around,” Hoerster said. The projected starters — all seniors — are tackles Lemke-Bell and Philip Berton, guards Nick Saleh and Malcolm Stolarski and center Riley State.

Best playmaker: “Right now, it’s [Lloyd] Yates, our quarterback. He’s explosive with the ball in his hands. He can throw or run. I’m excited he got the Northwestern offer and will continue [to play] there. He’s the real deal,” Berton said.

Best member of the secondary: The Huskies have two standouts in returning safety and captain Nate Godwin and cornerback Dallis Flowers, a guard on the basketball team. “[Flowers] is good in coverage and good on speed to the ball. When the ball is in the air, he will jump on it. He jumps high like a basketball player, too,” Ratcliff said.

Best teammate: “Phil Berton’s cool. He keeps the guys motivated and picks us up when we’re down, especially at practices like on Mondays. Phil’s got it going,” Ratcliff said.

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2013 record: 9-2 overall, 5-1 West Suburban Silver

2013 playoffs: Lost to Maine South 34-21 in the Class 8A second round

Head coach: John Hoerster, entering fourth season

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