||More Sports||Sign up||School Finder|
Oak Park's Jakari Cammon (32) gets tripped up by Waubonsie Valley's Greg Smith (36). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
For all the positive yardage Jakari Cammon earned in his three-year varsity career with Oak Park-River Forest, it doesn’t seem appropriate that his final carry in a Huskies uniform was for a four-yard loss.
It was that kind of day for 12th-seeded OPRF in its 28-7 loss to fourth-seeded Waubonsie Valley in the second round of the Class 8A playoffs in Oak Park.
The Warriors (10-1) scored the game’s first four touchdowns and the Huskies (7-4) scored their only points on their only possession in the fourth quarter. Cammon, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound senior, touched the ball once on OPRF’s final drive on a run up the middle, but the Huskies were penalized for holding on the play.
Cammon’s last carry came late in the third quarter when he was stopped for a four-yard loss on a run to the right from the Huskies’ 37 on second-and-5. OPRF was forced to punt to plays later.
Cammon rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries. He only had 43 yards in the first half. It was the first time Cammon went without a touchdown in six games. Cammon finished the season with 173 carries for 1,605 yards and 20 touchdowns. His greatest game was perhaps against Morton when he scored five TDs on nine carries for 292 yards Oct. 12. Against York Sept. 14, Cammon had 23 carries for 300 yards and three TDs, including an 82-yard TD run. In the second game of the season at Proviso East, one of Cammon’s two TD runs was for a season-long 84 yards.
“In my sophomore year, I was a slot receiver,” Cammon said. “I had a kick return, which was my only touchdown. I had a couple of catches. I had a pretty good career. Obviously, I always think I can do better.”
One game will stand out as Cammon’s most memorable of his career. The first-round playoff victory at Hinsdale Central, 28-24, decided on a last-minute touchdown pass will be hard to forget.
“That was the biggest win ever in my high school career,” Cammon said.
Senior Erik Oxnevad was one of two senior offensive linemen to block for Cammon this season, along with Brian Cole. The 6-2, 220-pound Oxnevad, who started at left tackle the past two seasons, has blocked for Cammon since they were in fourth grade together with the Youth Huskies football program.
“Obviously, he is a special player,’ Oxnevad said. “He makes our job easier and we try to make him look good.”
Cammon’s two years as a running back matched coach John Hoerster’s two years as OPRF coach since arriving as an assistant coach from Mount Carmel. Hoerster made adjustments to his own offensive philosophy from running a veer offense to a no-huddle spread built around Cammon’s ability to improvise. A big key was using zone blocking on the line to free up Cammon.
“He’s a good zone scheme runner,” Hoerster said. “We run a lot of inside zone and zone read. He has great vision. We revolved our offense [around him].
“He adapts really well to what we do. We work to his strengths. Whether it’s zone read or zone block; it allows for creativity.”
Cammon will return to the boys basketball team this winter, but is making the move from shooting guard to point guard after the graduation of Ka’Darryl Bell, who is now at Bradley. Cammon is as tough to guard on the court as he is to tackle on the gridiron.
Boys basketball practice begins Monday, but Cammon will take several days off to rest his body from the abuse of playing football. After OPRF’s three-win season last year, this is the shortest transition Cammon has had to make between sports.
“It takes about two to three weeks to get my body in [basketball] shape,” Cammon said. “The constant action during play is something your body is not used to, constantly going up and down the court.”