Clay Burdelik and brother Dylan Burdelik star in Maine South’s playoff win

SHARE Clay Burdelik and brother Dylan Burdelik star in Maine South’s playoff win

PARK RIDGE — Clay Burdelik didn’t hesitate in his return from a separated left shoulder.

The Maine South senior running back plunged over the line right into the Niles West defense for 8 yards on his first carry of Saturday’s Class 8A first-round playoff football game.

“We’ve been running through it (in practice) and it was feeling alright and I just jumped over the line and laid into the linebackers,” said Burdelik, who suffered the injury in an Oct. 11 game against the Wolves. “I like getting that first hit to settle into a game especially when you just want to test it out.”

His father, Tom, wasn’t all that surprised by his son’s boldness.

“We always know that even if you’re perfectly healthy, you’re one play away from that season- or career-ending injury and Clayton couldn’t possibly know how to play any other way,” Tom Burdelik said. “He’s 110 percent on every play and you can’t worry about the play after that. He’s always played that way, and I would’ve been stunned if he had done anything differently.”

Clay Burdelik’s highlight reel was just beginning as he escaped around the left end for 60 yards on the very next play. In the second quarter, he featured a nice cutback move during a run for 8 yards. On the first drive of the second half, he ran for 9 yards to set up a third-and-one, which he converted by dancing behind a lineman to pick up the first down. He spun for another 5 yards on the very next play. He finished with 120 rushing yards on 15 carries in Maine South’s 56-20 win.

As for whether or not he felt any pain Saturday, he declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Tom Burdelik’s day would only get better when his younger son, Dylan Burdelik, got into the game.

“Clayton had a terrific game and once Dylan got on the field, it was just, as they say, gravy,” Tom Burdelik said. “With every play it got better. It was a terrific day to be a parent. I think (my wife) Mary Kay would agree with me when I’d say it was the best day of our parenting lives. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Dylan Burdelik, a sophomore, had mainly played at middle linebacker on the sophomore team and said that he had perhaps 15 offensive touches all year. Thus, when he was brought up to the varsity, he figured it was mainly to help out on the defensive side of the ball.

Instead, he received four consecutive carries for 43 yards in the fourth quarter.

“It was pretty shocking. I didn’t think I was going to get in the game at all,” Dylan Burdelik said. “It kind of felt almost surreal because I’ve been coming to the games since I was 4 or 5 and dreaming of getting onto the field at Maine South varsity was all I could think about the whole time.”

He bounced off a couple of tacklers for 25 yards on his third run and smashed into the end zone on his fourth.

“I’m obviously not as fast as most of our running backs so I like to read my blockers,” Dylan Burdelik said. “If there’s a guy in my way that I don’t think I can juke out or get around with whatever moves I have, then I guess I’ll just bowl into him and fight for those extra yards.”

Dylan Burdelik’s career at Maine South is likely just beginning, but his time playing with his brother for the Hawks will be short-lived. Still, for one night, the two co-starred in the Maine South backfield, and that’s enough for Tom Burdelik.

“To have Clayton and Dylan play in the same game together, it’s something I’ll never forget,” Tom Burdelik said.

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