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Hinsdale, IL - Friday, October 26, 2012: Oak Park's Jamal Baggett (3) breaks up a pass to Hinsdale Central's John Claussen (21). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Waubonsie Valley defensive coaches might get a skewed vision of Oak Park-River Forest’s passing game if they only looked at film from the Huskies’ Class 8A first-round playoff victory.
The No. 12 seeded Huskies passed only three times in a 28-24 come-from-behind shocker to beat fifth-seeded Hinsdale Central Friday night.
OPRF sophomore quarterback Lloyd Yates (2-of-3) completed his only attempt in the first half, a 13-yarder over the middle to Khalil Pleas in the second quarter.
But his final pass made the difference. His attempt to Ryan Nelson was batted out of the air by Hinsdale cornerback Chase Hamilton, but Tom Odell snagged the ball and ran another 25 yards to complete a 50-yard TD play with 1:00 remaining.
The Devils’ last drive came up short when Brian Owens’ screen pass to Jack Adams went 16 yards on fourth-and-18 from the OPRF 39 with 17 seconds to go. Xavier Rose tackled Adams to preserve the Huskies’ win.
The Huskies (7-3) beat the Devils (7-3) twice in Hinsdale this season, including the longtime rivals’ first meeting in the playoffs.
Fourth-seeded Waubonsie Valley (9-1), a 38-6 winnner over Proviso West, will play at OPRF at 1 p.m. Saturday in the second round. The winner faces top-seeded Neuqua Valley (10-0) or ninth-seeded defending state champion Bolingbrook (8-2) in the quarterfinals.
Waubonsie’s playoff win was just its second in 10 postseason games. The Warriors are making their sixth consecutive playoff appearance, but the last two ended in a pair of heartbreakers. A year ago, top-seeded Waubonsie lost to 16th-seeded Belleville East 14-7 in the first round. In 2010, Homewood-Flossmoor defeated Waubonsie 34-28 in double overtime in the second round by stopping the Warriors at the goal line on fourth down.
“Anytime you win in the playoffs, it’s a good feeling,” Waubonsie coach Paul Murphy said.
The Warriors will face OPRF’s no-huddle spread offense led by the rushing attack of Jakari Cammon, who rushed for 170 yards on 22 carries and two TDs against Hinsdale. The Huskies gained 199 yards on the ground, compared to 63 yards through the air. The Huskies played without starting receiver Ryan Chancellor, who is expected to return for Waubonsie.
“I am comfortable with throwing to all my receivers,” Yates said. “They are capable of making any plays. I do think passing will be vital as we go further in the playoffs. We’re stronger when passing can open up our running game.”
Yates’ three attempts was his lowest of this season. He was 7-for-16 for 128 yards with two TDs and an interception in the first game against the Devils.
OPRF coach John Hoerster said he called about 10 pass plays Friday, but the others ended in either a sack or with Yates scrambling for yardage. Yates carried the ball 17 times, was sacked twice and scored in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run.
“I hope we can add a little more balance against Waubonsie,” Hoerster said. “(Passing) is very important. We have to be able to throw the football. When you look at successful teams, particularly in 8A and 7A, you have to run the football. But as you get to play good playoff teams and good coaches, you can’t be one-dimensional.”~.