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Waubonsie Valley's Austin Guido fights off a tackle as he runs against Proviso West on Friday, October 26, 2012. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Winning just their second postseason game since 2001 last week against Proviso West, a member of the West Suburban Silver, Waubonsie Valley might be going through a sense of déjà vu this week.
Now the Warriors have their sights on reaching the state quarterfinals for the first time since 1994.
In order to go somewhere the program hasn’t been in 18 years, getting another victory over a member of the West Suburban Silver will be required for the fourth-seeded Warriors, who visit No. 12 Oak Park-River Forest on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
“They’re just a team that from what we’ve seen on film has gotten progressively better as the season’s gone along,” Waubonsie Valley coach Paul Murphy said of the Huskies. “I believe they’ve won three games where they were losing in the second half and they came back to win. They did it twice to Hinsdale Central. … Proviso (West), in Week 9, had them down 26-6 and they darn near came back and beat Proviso. They had a chance to win in the last minute and ended up losing 26-23. So the last month of the season, they’ve been playing very, very well. I mean, they beat a good Lyons Township team who’s advancing in the playoffs and they beat Hinsdale Central twice. So they’ve been playing well.”
Securing its first postseason victory since 1992 with its 28-24 come-from-behind victory over Hinsdale Central last week, Oak Park-River Forest (7-3) will be looking to make its first state quarterfinal appearance since 1985 with a victory.
With sophomore quarterback Lloyd Yates passing only three times against the Red Devils, the Huskies’ spread option offense ran for 199 yards last week, with running back Jakari Cammon accounting for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Second-year Huskies’ coach John Hoerster, who spent 10 years as an assistant to Frank Lenti at Mount Carmel, believes both teams are similar on both sides of the ball.
“They do things a little differently, but offensively we’re not too different,” Hoerster said. “Defensively, we run a very similar defense. We run a 3-3 stack, like Waubonsie does. We mix it up a little bit but similar looks. I mean, it’s gonna be fun to see the two conferences match up.”
Mindful of what the Warriors (9-1) did to one of their conference rivals, Proviso West, in a 38-6 victory last week, the Huskies know the quality of the opposition the Warriors will provide.
Leading an offense averaging 40.9 points, Warriors’ senior running back Austin Guido ran for 176 yards and a touchdown last week against Proviso West to bring his season totals to 2,002 yards and 28 touchdowns, while senior quarterback Dylan Warden has accounted for 18 total touchdowns and Wisconsin-bound tight end Troy Fumagalli has caught 25 passes for 435 yards and five touchdowns.
“Their running back is a really good runner — strong runner, reads the blocks really well and the quarterback gives them a different dimension,” Hoerster said. “He’s a very nice athlete, does some things that are similar to what our team does at quarterback. … I mean, when you stand toe-to-toe with Proviso West, that’s pretty impressive. So, yeah, really, really impressed with what we’ve seen with Waubonsie.”
Winning at least eight games in each of the last three years, all Waubonsie Valley is focused on is getting over that second-round hump for the first time since 1994.
“Well if you get to the quarterfinals, you’re in the Elite Eight. So, to me, that makes you an elite team,” Murphy said. “So that’s the next goal of the program is to get to that Elite Eight status.”