Oak Park-River Forest signal-callers get a break in blowout of Morton

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OAK PARK — Oak Park-River Forest seniors Sam Pochyly, Jack Bauhs and Daniel Hoffman aren’t starters for the Huskies but their value to the team is immeasurable.

OPRF likes to run a fast-paced offense, so huddling or calling the quarterback over to the sideline isn’t an option. Instead, the plays are relayed from head coach John Hoerster through three signalers.

It’s their wild gestures using their arms while wearing various brightly colored accessories such as hats, arm sleeves and aprons that allow the Huskies to blitz teams with their offense, like they did Friday night in a 58-7 home win over Morton (2-7).

Jack Bauhs, Sam Pochyly and Daniel Hoffman give a sample of the signs they might use to signal in plays for Oak Park-River Forest. | Rob Valentin/for Sun-Times Media

Jack Bauhs, Sam Pochyly and Daniel Hoffman give a sample of the signs they might use to signal in plays for Oak Park-River Forest. | Rob Valentin/for Sun-Times Media

“It’s a challenging job because you really have to be animated,” Hoerster said. “You can’t be conservative or shy. Everything has to be big so people all the way on the other side of the field can see it.

“These guys buy into it and work their butt off and they allow us to do what we do. We go really fast and the only way we could go fast is because of these guys.”

Pochyly has been a back-up quarterback to Lloyd Yates each of the past two seasons. Yates has been a fixture in the backfield, so Pochyly has had plenty of experience relaying signals for the varsity.

“It’s not that hard because you spend all summer learning it gradually,” Pochyly said. “Some people wanted to jump in and do it once the season started and it’s just too late and too much stuff to learn.”

Bauhs and Hoffman are both backup wide receivers and they wanted to do whatever they could to help the team.

“When it became clear to me that I was going to struggle for a starting spot, I knew I wanted to contribute and Coach was struggling to find signalers,” Bauhs said. “I know because I’m signaling I might be the last guy to go in, but Coach knows I’m a guy he can count on. I’ve completely bought in.”

“It was pretty much the same thing with me,” Hoffman said. “I didn’t know what position I was going to play and I just settled into receivers. One day in practice Coach needed someone to do signals and I was confident in my knowledge of the offense and I just stepped in and did it.”

In tight games, the trio will call signals all night. But in blowouts like Friday, with OPRF (7-2) leading 42-0 by the start of the second quarter, things can go differently. All three logged heavy playing time and Pochyly was one of eight Huskies who scored a touchdown.

“Obviously, we’re on the team because we want to play,” Hoffman said. “Coach knows we know everything there is to know about our offense and getting in in front of our home fans is just awesome.”

“Saturday games for [JV] are fun, but Friday nights are a whole different thing,” Pochyly said.

“There’s no greater feeling getting to play in front of the home crowd, especially since it might be the last game we get to play in,” Bauhs said.

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