Breaking It Down: Fans who showed up Friday night at Shepard High School expecting a football game instead saw what amounted to a track meet, as the Oak Forest Bengals and Shepard Astros lit up the scoreboard to combine for 98 total points.
Oak Forest fired out of the blocks first, tallying six total touchdowns in the first half, including scores of four scores of 20-yards or longer. The Bengals were paced in the first half by fullback Ben Santiago, who had three touchdowns in the first half, and quarterback Tom Zale, who lofted two touchdown passes. The offensive onslaught by Oak Forest gave them a 41-7 halftime lead over the Astros.
Shepard wouldn't go quietly into the night though, as the Astros stormed out of the locker room, led by quarterback Larenzo Lashley and wide receiver Londell Lee. The duo, which had previously hooked up for 14 touchdowns in the regular season, connected three times for touchdowns in the third quarter. However, their play wasn't enough, as the Bengals answered every Astros' score with one of their own, leading to the 69-29 final.
Patch’s MVP: Tyler Usterbowski, running back, Oak Forest. Usterbowski did a little bit of everything on offense for the Bengals. Usterbowski kicked off the points avalanche for the Bengals with a 70-yard touchdown run on Oak Forest's first possession of the game, then added two more scores in the fourth—one rushing and one receiving—to ice the game. Usterbowski finished with 3 touchdowns and 203 total yards on the night.
Oak Forest Stat Pack: Fullback Ben Santiago notched 4 touchdowns on 107 yards rushing, while quarterback Tom Zale had 3 total touchdowns. Blake Waller grabbed an interception on defense for the Bengals.
Shepard Stat Pack: Londell Lee finished with 249 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. Quarterback Larenzo Lashley threw for 307 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Devon Landfair rushed for 49 yards on 10 carries.
Quotable I: “I would like to have Lemont again, for revenge. I mean they beat us last time, but that was only by 3.” Tyler Usterbowski, Oak Forest running back, on who he hopes the Bengals play next week.
Quotable II: “I was worried at the beginning, because I knew defensively it was going to be tough for us. … I knew we could score some points, I was hoping we could get some big plays early, but we didn't see those till the second half.” Dominic Passolan, Shepard head coach
Team Records: Oak Forest improved to 10-1 on the year and advanced to the quarter finals of the IHSA 6A tournament. Shepard's loss ends the Astros' season with a 7-4 mark on the year.
What’s Next: Oak Forest will play the winner of the Lemont versus Richards match up that will be played Saturday, Nov. 3. Shepard's season is over.
IHSA 6A scores: Notre Dame 35, Steinmets 8; Lake Forest 23, Lakes 21; Crystal Lake Central 30, Grant 13. For more scores, check out the IHSA Score Zone.