Oak Park-River Forest finds that top-seed Morton is as good as advertised

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LaGRANGE — Morton proved to be too much to handle for Oak Park-River Forest in the Class 3A Lyons Sectional semifinals on Tuesday night.

The Mustangs came out firing and scored three first-half goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Huskies.

“We knew it was going to be a tough match coming in,” OPRF head coach Paul Wright said. “We really got the wind knocked out of our sails with their early goal. We had a miscommunication in our back and we ended up playing scared for the next five to 10 minutes.”

Morton (24-1-2) scored just 1:22 into the match on a goal by Jorge Mercado. The Mustangs would push it to 3-0 by halftime after a goal by Rafael Herrera and another score from Mercado.

Huskies senior forward Purvis Funches had hoped to spring an upset of top-seeded Morton, but he knows it was a huge challenge for No. 5 OPRF.

“They’re No. 1 in the state and there’s a reason for that,” Funches said. “They’re able to possess the ball and connect their passes and they make really good decisions. They’re a really solid team.”

The Huskies (13-6-1) played much better in the second half. Paul Clancy and Funches scored for OPRF while Herrera and Edgar Olaguez found the back of the net for Morton.

“We just dug ourselves into a ditch in the first half but in the second half we created a lot more opportunities and got two goals,” Wright said. “The big thing for me is that we didn’t quit. We had a lot of fight but we didn’t get chippy. We played hard and battled and I’m honored by that.”

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