HINSDALE — For three quarters on Friday night, Hinsdale Central relied on senior running back Juwan Edmond, who piled up 217 yards on 33 carries against No. 6 Oak Park-River Forest.
But in the end, it all fell on Red Devils’ quarterback Matt Rafferty.
The 6-7 senior tossed two of his three touchdowns in the final 3:20 to lead Hinsdale Central to a thrilling 21-17 West Suburban Silver home win over the Huskies.
Rafferty’s best effort came on the final drive. With just over two minutes to play, Rafferty marched Hinsdale Central (6-2, 4-1) 82 yards — converting 3rd-and-5 and 4th-and-7 with scrambles for first downs. He capped the drive with a 9-yard TD pass to Bradley Huth with 17 seconds to play. After that, OPRF (6-2, 4-2) was out of magic.
“We try and stay confident on the offensive side no matter what it is, pass or run,” Rafferty said. “We know we can do both great. There were some open seams late in the game and we just kept passing. Me running wasn’t the plan but I saw the receivers weren’t open and I saw a hole.”
Rafferty was 9-for-25 for 95 yards and a TD in the first 44 minutes and 4-for-6 for 104 yards and two TDs in the final four minutes, which saw four lead changes.
“We wanted to take what they were giving us and if they were going to keep letting us run the ball, we were going to do it,” Red Devils head coach Dan Hartman said. “We felt like we had a lot of bullets left in the gun for the passing game because we didn’t use much early. The poise Matt showed, especially scrambling to get the first downs, was huge.”
Rafferty is the tallest quarterback that Hartman has coached and has joked around with him regarding his ability to scramble outside the pocket.
“I always tease him about his mobility,” Hartman said. “He’s a big, tall guy, but he’s a lot more athletic than he looks. It just takes a couple steps to get those big legs going.”
While Rafferty can light up the scoreboard on the football field, he’s even better on the basketball court. After Friday’s game, Rafferty went home to pack for a basketball visit to Brown.
“He’ll end up playing basketball at an Ivy League school,” Hartman said. “If those guys are knocking, I don’t see why he wouldn’t do it.”
- Friday night was the second time this season that an unranked Hinsdale Central team knocked off a team in the Sun-Times’ Super 25. The Red Devils defeated then-No. 1 Bolingbrook 23-15 in Week 1.
- OPRF accumulated 153 yards in the fourth quarter after gaining just 141 yards in the first three quarters. “Talk about an emotional roller coaster for both sides,” Huskies coach John Hoerster said. “Both teams finished strong; we just ran out of time.”