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New Oak Lawn football coach Ryan Pattison is hoping to turn the Spartan program around. Photo by Jeff Vorva

New Oak Lawn football coach Ryan Pattison is hoping to turn the Spartan program around. Photo by Jeff Vorva

High School Football: New coach Pattison looks to turn Oak Lawn around

By Jeff Vorva
Correspondent

When Ryan Pattison was hired as the head football coach at Guerin, he was looking forward to leading the 2020 squad and rebuilding a program.

He did not need to worry about COVID-19 spoiling those plans. That happened when the private high school in River Grove announced it was going to close after the 2019-20 school year.

Pattison admits it was a disappointing blow. But a year later, he is able to try to build another football program — this one much closer to his Orland Park home.

The former Lockport quarterback is the new coach at Oak Lawn. He will replace Harold Blackmon, who parted ways with the Spartans after two seasons.

“I’m really happy where I’m at,” Pattison said. “Everything happens for a reason and I’m starting to believe it. I’m so much happier being here.”

Oak Lawn has not had a winning season since going 6-4 in 2008. The following year, the Spartans finished qualified for the playoffs and finished 5-5, but since then have gone 25-71, including a 1-5 mark in an abbreviated 2021 spring season. The 2020 fall campaign was canceled because of the pandemic.

“It’s been a good chunk of time since we had a winning season,” the coach said. “The potential is there. It’s just about how good they can pick up a new offense or a new defense. If they were in this program for three or four years, we would have the talent to go and make the playoffs and have a winning season.

“The question is how hard are they going to study and how hard are they going to work to catch up. We have about a month and we play a game. This offense needs to be crisp and ready to do this and the defense needs to be crisp and ready to go.”

During the spring, the Spartans lost their first five games by a combined score of 210-28 before closing the season with a 46-28 victory over Argo.

LISNIC scaled

Oak Lawn quarterback Dan Lisnic started during the spring as a sophomore. Photo by Jeff Vorva

“That win was definitely a start, but we have to improve,” said junior quarterback Danny Lisnic, who started under center in the spring.

Having summer football this season is a big help as the Spartans had just a month to get ready for the spring campaign, Lisnic said. He also likes the vibe Pattison brings to the team.

“He brings a lot of energy and it may be the energy some kids need,” Lisnic said.

OAK LAWN scaled

Oak Lawn players raise their helmets during a recent summer practice. Photo by Jeff Vorva

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