Oak Lawn running back Nicco Reyes runs for a chunk of his 93 yards during the Spartans’ 40-21 win over Stagg on Sept. 3. Oak Lawn ran for 395 yards and piled up 508 overall. Photo by Jason Maholy
High School Football: Oak Lawn’s McGlynn, Duer star on offense and ‘D’ in win over Stagg
By Jason Maholy
Oak Lawn defensive end Jack McGlynn had never played offense in a game prior to the Spartans’ Week 2 matchup with Stagg.
After his performance against the host Chargers, coach Ryan Pattison will have a hard time keeping the versatile junior off the field, period. McGlynn did damage on both sides of the ball, catching two touchdown passes to go with an interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery.
His contributions helped Oak Lawn to a 40-21 triumph, its first of the season. They’ll try to make it two straight this week when they visit Eisenhower in the South Suburban Red opener for both teams.
It was also the first career head coaching win for Pattison, who was proud of how the team rebounded after a 64-8 loss to Rich Township in the season-opener.
“I love the way we responded, and we showed what we’re capable of when we’re playing as a team and we’re firing on all cylinders,” Pattison said. “We had a good week of practice, even though the game didn’t go in our favor last week. It was special to see and it’s great to know the youth in our program are buying in.”
One player who has bought in is McGlynn, who had little interest in playing offense but after the loss to Rich knew he had to do whatever was asked of him to help the team.
“I didn’t like offense, I’m not going to lie,” McGlynn said. “I just like hitting people.
“But this feels great. I’ve been here for three years and this is the best team we’ve had so far, and we are keyed up. We had the best summer and we worked so hard for this.”
With only 38 players on the roster, the Spartans need their best players to make contributions on both sides of the ball. McGlynn’s skill set makes him the kind of player Pattison can thrust into that role.
“He’s a very physical kid, but that rare combination in that he’s big enough to block and gifted enough athletically where he can catch the ball and do things with the ball in space,” the coach said.
Another two-way player who stepped up big against Stagg was Gabe Duer, who starts at quarterback and linebacker. Duer completed only two passes, but one was a 44-yard touchdown to McGlynn that evened the score at 7 in the first quarter. He also ran for 50 yards and two touchdowns, and forced one fumble and recovered another.
McGlynn’s second touchdown, a 39-yard catch-and-run, came in the third quarter on an Ayham Salah pass that was deflected by a Stagg defender. McGlynn snagged the ball out of the air while never breaking stride and outraced the remaining Chargers defenders to the end zone.
The score and extra point extended the Spartans’ lead to 27-15.
The Spartans pled up 508 yards from scrimmage, but did most of their damage on the ground. Their 395 yards rushing were well-distributed between Adam Alcantar (6/101), Nicco Reyes (10/93, TD), Ayham Salah (5/79, TD), Rakan Eid (9/66) and Duer (7/50, 2 TDs).
Salah’s touchdown came on a designed quarterback sweep in which he found room on the right sideline, then made multiple tacklers miss as he bolted toward the end zone.
“He did a heck of a job getting to the edge and making something happen in space, and that’s what a lot of our guys can do when they get the ball in space,” Pattison said. “We have some athletes and it’s fun to watch them, fun to coach them.”
Providing them running room was an offensive line anchored by sophomore center Mustaf Qurt, who Pattison said has established himself as the leader of a unit that also includes junior tackles Adam Gallardo and Ben Zanabrin, and junior guard Edward Busha. Senior Fabian Melendez and sophomores Daniel Sweig and Victor Almeida have been rotating at left guard.
“[Qurt] was here all summer and in the weight room all offseason, working his butt off, so it’ll be nice to have him for a couple more seasons to come,” Pattison said.
For Stagg, things were looking positive before play was halted with 2:54 remaining in the second quarter. The Chargers had just taken a 15-13 lead on a nifty 15-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Terry Rodgers and a two-point conversion.
Before the teams lined up for the ensuing kickoff, Stagg administrators directed everyone in the stadium into the high school because of a situation involving a firearm in the neighborhood just east of the stadium.
Returning from the break roughly 30 minutes later, Oak Lawn went to its two-minute offense and scored on a Duer 2-yard run and converted a two-pointer to retake the lead, 21-15, before halftime.
Stagg never seemed to recover. Four turnovers and inopportune penalties didn’t help their cause. One infraction for unsportsmanlike conduct followed an interception and runback by junior Daniel Sweeney that would have set up the Chargers offense inside the Spartans’ 40 yard line.
“We’ve got to get better,” Stagg coach Colt Nero said. “We’re killing ourselves with penalties, not controlling the controllable, feeding into the unnecessary stuff we shouldn’t be focusing on.
“We’ve talked to them about taking our lumps, but we have to learn from our lumps and continue to get better so we aren’t making the same mistakes over and over.”
The Chargers opened the scoring on a 29-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Lebarion Gilmore to TJ Griffin, who leaped high above an Oak Lawn defensive back to grab the ball in the end zone.
Another Stagg senior wideout, Moe Ahmed, outleaped two Spartan defenders to come down with a 28-yard scoring pass from Gilmore that made it 38-21 early in the fourth quarter.
Nero praised Griffin and Ahmed for their efforts and their overall impact on the team.
“They’re polar opposite individuals, but those two are the kind of guys you want on your team,” he said. “TJ is the vocal leader, brings it every single day, challenges guys the right way, probably the most mature guy on the team. Moe is quiet and leads by example. He battles through everything, comes to practice every day and just competes his butt off.
“That’s all you can ask for as a coach are guys who compete every day. And they’re both phenomenal teammates.”
Nero is also high on Gilmore, a sophomore who is a dual-threat under center.
“We have an incredible amount of confidence in him,” he added. “He’s mature for a sophomore and we’re really excited about him. He has an awesome arm and he’s really fast, and when it starts to click for all of us we think it’s going to be dangerous.”
The Chargers have lost 16 straight games going back to the second game of the 2019 season, and their road gets no easier this week with a visit to Frankfort to take on Lincoln-Way East. The Griffins won the 2019 state championship in Class 8A.
“We talk about how hard winning is … about the process and about getting to that point,” Nero said. “The losses are going to come but we know the wins are also going to come. It’s about sticking to the process and sticking together.
“We’ll come back next week and have a great week of practice get back at it.”
Girls Basketball: Shepard, Knights among four area teams to open season at Bobby Bolton Classic
By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Four area teams competed in the eight-team Bobby Bolton Classic at Richards, and each showed some bright spots and had some sloppy moments. That was to be expected. Richards, Oak Lawn, Chicago Christian and Shepard were all opening the season with young teams. According to their rosters, 15 of 54 players…
Wharton fifth-graders take first place in math competition
By Carol McGowan A class at District 104’s Wharton 5th Grade Center in Summit recently celebrated a big win. Ms. Xheraj’s class took first place in the Region 7 Math Online Sumdog Competition. Sumdog’s free online math contests tout being a fun way to motivate students as they compete against other classes and schools, either…
Pro soccer report: Red Stars lose Dames after losing in NWSL title game
By Jeff Vorva Correspondent After a bizarre season that saw many of their best players injured for much of the time, a 5-0 loss to open the season and the thrill of making it to the NWSL championship game, Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames announced late Sunday night he was resigning. “For 11 years,…
St. Rita tops Prospect, advances to second straight state title game
By Steve Millar Correspondent After entering the season with huge expectations, St. Rita lost two of its first three games and star senior running back/receiver Kaleb Brown to injury. While some may have written the Mustangs off, they still believed they had a team that could win a state championship. “We’ve been able to stick…
Crusaders playoff run ends with semifinal loss to Wheaton North
By Jeff Vorva Correspondent At age 47, Brian Badke has a lot of good coaching years left in him. But for now, he is stepping away and putting the whistle in storage. He has a lot of good spectating years ahead of him that he wants to take care of, first. The Brother Rice football…
Give thanks to your local paper
By Thomas L. Knapp Around Thanksgiving, I usually take a little time to think about who and what I’m thankful for. That seems to be the point, after all. This year, for various reasons, my thoughts and appreciation turn toward journalists, newspapers and other news media. Sometimes the people and institutions we rely on to…
Pols used Rittenhouse trial as a weapon
By Ray Hanania The Kyle Rittenhouse trial and case were turned into a political weapon to fuel the ugly polarization that has divided this country politically. That polarization has a political benefit for both sides. What polarization does is freeze people politically, and it prevents people from turning on their political leaders. In polarization, Democrats…
Wrangling over state remap continues
By Rich Miller Some Illinois House Democrats got a bit of a shock during a private caucus meeting held not long after the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed its proposed redistricting plan with a federal three-judge panel the other day. MALDEF is claiming the legislature’s district remap plan unconstitutionally discriminates against Latinos…
Chicago Ridge Fire Department Open House
The Chicago Ridge Fire Department hosted an Open House on October 29 at the firehouse, 10063 Virginia Ave., Chicago Ridge. At the free event, attendees were able to take photos on a fire truck, watch demonstrations, hear fire safety talks and participate in a trunk-or-treat.
Evergreen Park programs accelerate despite pandemic
By Joe Boyle Evergreen Park Mayor Kelly Burke praised department leaders and local organizations that offered services and activities the past year despite the presence of COVID-19. She referred to the Evergreen Park Recreation Department, which offers a variety of programs for seniors, adults, teens and children. “They have been able to do this during…
Capitol Cast: A discussion on redistricting controversies
The Better Government Association’s Bryan Zarou and University of Illinois political science professor Brian Gaines talk with Peter Hancock about the redistricting process in Illinois and the upcoming oral arguments in three federal lawsuits challenging the new legislative maps. See congressional maps here:www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer…3130960460293&z=6 See IL House maps here:www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/viewer…8881118842843&z=5 See IL Senate maps here:www.google.com/maps/d/u/2/viewer…4259714843751&z=6 Capitol News…
State Supreme Court rules on pair of gun cases
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – In its latest round of opinions Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a Village of Deerfield assault weapons ban and restored a Putnam County man’s right to a Firearm Owners Identification card over the objections of the Illinois State Police. The decision in the Deerfield case…
Illinois unemployment falls to 6%
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point in October to 6 percent as employers added 40,900 jobs during the month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday. According to the preliminary data, the industry sectors…
CAPITOL RECAP: Pritzker signs electric vehicle manufacturing incentives into law
By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law a tax incentives package Tuesday, Nov. 16, that state lawmakers hope will help Illinois become a manufacturing hub for the budding electric vehicle industry. The Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois, or REV, Act, passed the General Assembly with near-unanimous bipartisan support during the…
New state law bans ‘dark money’ in judicial races
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A new law in Illinois aims to ban out-of-state contributions and so-called “dark money” in judicial campaigns by requiring all candidates to disclose the sources of their contributions. Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday signed Senate Bill 536 into law, an omnibus elections bill that makes a…
Pritzker signs electric vehicle manufacturing incentives into law
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed into law a tax incentives package Tuesday that state lawmakers hope will help Illinois become a manufacturing hub for the budding electric vehicle industry. The Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois, or REV, Act, passed the General Assembly with near-unanimous bipartisan support during…
Capitol Cast: Climate, Supreme Court and Redistricting
Listen to the latest episode of Capitol Cast. Peter Hancock and Jerry Nowicki discuss Gov. JB Pritzker’s trip to the U.N. climate conference, an Illinois Supreme Court case concerning ride hailing services, and the latest developments in the legislative redistricting court cases. Capitol News Illinois · Climate, Supreme Court and Redistricting
GOP, advocacy groups submit changes to legislative district maps in court
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Plaintiffs in three lawsuits challenging the new legislative district maps that Democrats pushed through the General Assembly earlier this year have submitted their proposed changes, which would create more Latino- and Black-majority districts in Cook County and the Metro East region. The latest filings, submitted to…
State Supreme Court asked to rule in case of woman allegedly raped by Lyft driver
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The rideshare company Lyft argued before the Illinois Supreme Court Wednesday that a 2014 state law protects it from being held liable for the criminal actions of one of its drivers who allegedly raped a passenger in 2017. The case centers on the constitutionality of the…
Pritzker signs Health Care Right of Conscience change
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – A new law in Illinois will soon clear the way for employers to enforce vaccination, testing and other mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The measure, Senate Bill 1169, amends the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, a 1977 law originally intended to…