Glenbrook South’s Tommy O’Hara mentoring younger teammates

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DEERFIELD — Tommy O’Hara has gone from student to teacher.

Last year, O’Hara was trying to soak in as much information as possible while serving as a starting junior linebacker for Glenbrook South.

“In the beginning, it was definitely nerve-wracking,” O’Hara said. “I was a little inexperienced, but then you have those senior leaders to bring you along. It really helped.”

One year later, O’Hara has become that senior leader, helping to teach younger teammates like starting junior linebacker Quinn Conaghan.

“He’s a leader. Easy to talk to,” Conaghan said about O’Hara. “He’s always talking on the field.”

Conaghan added: “Ever since the first day, he’s helped me.”

Last season was a bit of a struggle at times for O’Hara.

“He took his lumps last year,” Glenbrook South coach Mike Noll said. “He was playing outside (linebacker) in space and sometimes he had a hard time. But now he’s inside, the quick side. Good instincts. A good leader. He’s our best linebacker.”

And that’s all added up to quite a difference for O’Hara.

O’Hara was all over the field Friday as Glenbrook South shut out Deerfield 48-0 and improved to 3-0. He had a team-high nine tackles in just one half of play and a fumble recovery as the Titans limited Deerfield to 178 total yards.

“We wanted to come in here and shut them down,” O’Hara said.

One of the things that Conaghan praised O’Hara for was his “great reads.”

That was evident in O’Hara’s fumble recovery. He sped to the ballcarrier and jumped on a loose ball, which led to a short Titans scoring drive.

“You watch us. We all swarm to the ball,” said O’Hara, who also plays baseball and basketball for the Titans.

There’s more to O’Hara’s improvement than just a position change. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound O’Hara said he’s “bigger, stronger and more confident.”

He’s also more experienced.

“I know the speed of the game now,” O’Hara said. “What to expect from week to week.”

“He’s everything you’d want,” Noll said.

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