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Devyn Cedzidlo's mother Tabita Cedzidlo (right) and her boyfriend Morgan LaRue, both of Lake Villa, cheer for Devyn and his Lakes team. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Lakes senior Direll Clark doesn’t get much chance to watch his half-brother Devyn Cedzidlo play football this fall.
While Cedzidlo, a freshman standout running back on the Eagles’ sophomore team, is in action early on Friday nights, Clark is preparing with the rest of his varsity teammates to terrorize opponents with his size, strength and speed in Lakes’ backfield from his tailback position.
Clark does get updates, as he did last Friday when Lakes opened North Suburban Conference Prairie Division play at Round Lake.
“I knew Devyn scored two touchdowns, so I had to go out and do better,” said Clark, who found the end zone four times in the Eagles’ 60-0 romp over the Panthers to improve to 3-1 on the season.
“There’s a little bit of trash-talking going on at home between the two,” laughs proud mom Tabitha Cedzidlo. “It’s all in fun, but both of them are competitors and like to out-do each other if they can.”
Both of the brothers do agree that mom Tabitha is a big reason that they are so successful on the football field and in the classroom at Lakes.
“My mom cleans houses for a living, so she makes sure my brother and I know how hard we need to work to get by,” says Clark. “She does a lot for us, but she makes sure we do things the right way.”
Clark has been hard to stop on the football field for the past two seasons, including rushing for nearly 2,000 yards last year with 21 touchdowns scored.
He has already rushed for over 100 yards in three of his first four games this season.
He came up a few yards short of 100 yards against Round Lake, as, after scoring four first-half touchdowns, he did not play in the second half with Lakes comfortably ahead.
Purdue has already offered Clark a scholarship, while Eastern Illinois, South Dakota and North Dakota are also in the mix.
“I’m keeping my options open right now,” said Clark, who will visit several schools before making a decision. “I would like to major in engineering, so Purdue is a good place to do that.”
At 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, Clark punishes his opposition with his physical style of running the ball.
“He’s definitely a power-back,” said Lakes coach Luke Mertens of his senior star, who rushed for 280 yards in a playoff win over Rolling Meadows last season. “He’s a tough kid to bring down with just one defender.”
Clark has worked hard over the summer to increase his speed and strength.
“I spent a lot of time in the weight room,” he said. “I know I have to get better and faster if I want to compete at the next level.”
Cedzidlo is also a physical force on Lakes’ sophomore team as a freshman with his strength and speed.
“Devyn has a lot of talent and is just getting started in his football career,” said Mertens of Cedzidlo, who rushed for 240 yards in a win over Lake Forest two weeks ago.
“He’s going to be fun to watch in the next couple of years.”
Clark isn’t going to see much of Cedzidlo’s season this fall, but he is still his half-brother’s No. 1 fan.
“We both want each other to do well, even though there’s some bragging going on once in awhile,” laughed Clark. “We have fun with it.”
Clark hopes he can help Lakes do some bragging this week when the Eagles face sister-school Antioch on Friday.
The Sequoits handed the Eagles their only loss in the NSC Prairie last season, 30-14.
Lakes, Antioch and Grant all finished in a three-way tie for the top spot in the division, while the Eagles went on to make a quarterfinal appearance in the IHSA Class 6A playoffs.
“We definitely are looking forward to playing Antioch again,” said Clark. “It’s going to be a battle.”
Should Lakes make another bid for the top spot in the NSC Prairie and have a lengthy run in the post-season again, more college opportunities might open up for Clark.
“Direll is getting more and more attention every week, and that’s great to see,” said Mertens. “More importantly, he’s a great kid and you like to root for someone like that.”