Football: Oak Park-River Forest outlasts Lincoln-Way East 49-34
By Mike Clark firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MikeClarkPreps August 30, 2014 12:42AM
Lincoln-Way East's Paul Gossage (2) scores as Oak Park River Forest's Dallis Flowers (21) defends during the first quarter in Frankfort, Illinois, August 29, 2014. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 31, 2014 2:15AM
After waiting nine months for the return of football, all Oak Park-River Forest and Lincoln-Way East got was more waiting.
Barely four minutes into Friday night’s game at Lincoln-Way East, the teams walked off the field when play was suspended because of threatening weather.
But the delay was short-lived, and turned out to be a boon for Oak Park, which roared back after play resumed to earn a 49-34 win.
Mike Weller had a huge night for East, completing 32-of-47 passes for 333 yards with two interceptions. He threw three touchdown passes to Paul Gossage and ran for two more short scores himself.
But Northwestern-bound quarterback Lloyd Yates was as productive for Oak Park. He made plays with his arm and legs, going 7-of-13 for 142 yards and running 18 times for 168 yards, and running for two touchdowns and passing for three more.
“We feel like we’re one of the fastest teams in the state and we want to use that speed,” Yates said.
“They’ve got something special over there and there’s no doubt about it,” East coach Rob Zvonar said. “In the same sense, we don’t feel that’s what we’re about. I feel very sorry for an offense that scores 34 points and gets beat.”
“I think it might have worked to our advantage,” Oak Park coach John Hoerster said of the delay. “We were on the bus for two hours coming here, it took us forever. We got here, had some cobwebs in our brain ...
“We started off right away, we had to punt, they scored. We see a lot of big eyes out here. ... That allowed us to at least take a breath (and think), ‘This is like any other Friday night we played before.”
“We got back out here and acted like we forgot how to play defensive football,” Zvonar said. “But I don’t think (South Carolina coach) Steve Spurrier is going to mail it in (after a Week 1 loss) and we aren’t either.”
Yates took off on a 68-yard scoring run in the second quarter and threw touchdown passes to two receivers, a 19-yarder to Cole Fields in the first quarter and a 50-yarder to Kejuan Ratcliff in the second.
And Yates isn’t the only Huskie with breakaway speed: Antonio Cannon busted off a 36-yard scoring run in the first quarter.
But East showed why it’s one of the top programs in the state, bouncing back and delivering a counter to every punch Oak Park landed.
Weller capped a 70-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Paul Gossage. That kept East within striking distance at halftime at 28-21.
But Yates had two more touchdown runs after halftime and Dallis Flowers returned an interception for a score to keep Oak Park in control.
Weller answered with another TD pass and another scoring run, but he couldn’t catch up to Yates. On this night, no one could.