Proviso West capitalizes on OPRF turnovers

SHARE Proviso West capitalizes on OPRF turnovers
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Proviso West approached Friday night’s West Suburban Silver showdown at Oak Park-River Forest as a must-win game.

With five wins going into the contest, the Panthers didn’t want to rest their playoff hopes on having enough playoff points if they finished 5-4. They wanted the guaranteed birth that comes with six wins.

It wasn’t a pretty finish but Proviso West got the job done, registering a 26-23 victory after leading 26-0 midway through the third quarter.

“We felt like we had to win to get in,” said Panthers’ quarterback Anthony Dorsey. “We didn’t want to sneak into the playoffs.”

Proviso West (6-3, 3-3) started the scoring as Jamaal Payton found the end zone on a 16-yard run as time expired in the first quarter.

After a fumble by Huskies’ running back Michael Hayden, Payton was able to score again, this time from 2 yards out. The extra point kick was blocked, keeping the Panthers’ lead at 13-0.

Oak Park (6-3, 3-3) could not hang onto the football in the first half as it turned it over four times and had just 49 yards of offense.

The Huskies looked like they were going to get back in the game early in the third, but Jakari Cammon fumbled at the Panthers’ 9-yard line. Two plays later, Anthony Dorsey (8-for-17 passing, 167 yards) hooked up with Carl Geanes for an 87-yard touchdown and a 20-0 lead.

Oak Park’s turnover woes continued on the next drive as quarterback Lloyd Yates’ screen pass was picked off by defensive lineman Staffon Johnson and returned 35 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was no good, keeping the Proviso West lead at 26-0 with 6:21 remaining in the third.

“I was getting pressure and the ball came into my hand,” said Johnson, who took off like a fullback after the pick. “I heard footsteps so I had to hold on but it was my teammates.”

The Huskies wouldn’t go quietly, however, as a pair of Cammon 1-yard touchdowns runs, an extra point and a 2-point conversion run by Cammon got the Huskies within 26-15.

Despite two more turnovers, Oak Park stayed in the game and pulled within 26-23 after a 33-yard touchdown from Yates to Xavier Rowe and a 2-point conversion run by Cammon with 1:34 to play.

Oak Park’s Justin Starks recovered the ensuing onside kick by Sebastian Medala giving the Huskies a chance for the tie or win.

But it wasn’t to be as a Hail Mary by Yates was knocked down in the end zone as time expired.

“We put ourselves in a bad position and got behind in the first half,” said Cammon, who ran for 132 yards on 26 carries. “We knew we were better than this team but when you put yourself in a big hole like that, bad things happen.”

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