Oak Forest suffered two major blows the past two weeks. During a Week 5 win over Hillcrest, quarterback Nick Ciufia suffered a season-ending injury to his knee, forcing Connor Rago to shift from receiver to quarterback.
Friday, during a 19-12 loss to Bremen, wingback Nick Cszewski suffered a broken leg that will keep him sidelined the rest of the season. Brian Pearson and Tom Gattuso are expected to fill in for Cszewski.
“Those are a couple of tough losses,” Oak Forest coach Brian McDonough said. “Ciufia is a great athlete, a great kid. He’s down and out about the injury, but those things happen. We’ll be all right. Rago has played some quarterback.”
The good news for Oak Forest (4-2) is that four-year starting fullback Matt Barry, who in 2012 suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 3, is looking more like himself. Barry has played in all six games and will be expected to carry more of the load down the stretch.
“Matt’s been playing better and looking like his old self,” McDonough said. “We’re going to need him the rest of the way.”
Sandburg looks to regroup
After a 48-10 shellacking at the hands of Homewood-Flossmoor, Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal was going to make it priority No. 1 to find out his team’s mental state.
“We’ll meet with the kids and find out where they are mentally,” he said. “They were very, very fired up about playing H-F. Obviously, we didn’t expect this experience. It was pretty ugly. We had some breakdowns and mistakes that you just can’t have against a team like H-F.
“We have to make sure that the kids still believe in themselves.”
The Eagles have to win two of their three remaining games to get to 5-4 to have a chance at qualifying for the postseason. It’s not an easy task, with Lincoln-Way East, Stagg and Bolingbrook remaining.
Unlike recent years, Stagg, at 3-3, is no a pushover — especially if Sandburg quarterback Sean Leland, who injured his shoulder vs. H-F, is out for an extended period.
Player of the Week
Mikale Wilbon, of De La Salle, is the SouthtownStar Football Player of the Week.
Wilbon, a senior running back and Vanderbilt recruit, carried the ball 18 times for 244 yards, including touchdown runs of 56 and 85 yards, during the Meteors’ 38-16 win over St. Laurence.