Winner goes on, loser goes home.
Those are the stakes for the showdown between the Oak Forest Bengals and the Lemont Indians on Saturday, Nov. 10. The familiar foes will kickoff at 7 p.m. at Oak Forest High School, where the pair previously met in Week 5 of the regular, a game that saw the Indians play spoiler to Oak Forest's homecoming with a last-second 17-14 victory.
“That game, we played well, they played well,” said Oak Forest coach Brian McDonough. “It came down to a field goal at the end of the game.”
The game is also a rematch of last year's IHSA second round meeting between the two clubs, which Lemont also won, 35-14.
In Round 2 of the IHSA 6A playoffs last week, Oak Forest put on a rushing clinic against Shepard, piling up 457 yards on the ground to go along with six touchdowns in a 69-29 victory. The performance by the Bengals served as notice that their rushing attack is not something to sleep on, even against a stingy 'D' like the Indians'.
“We're just going to try to prepare for what we do,” McDonough said. “I don't know if we'll have that result this time because Lemont has a very good defense.”
Lemont had a little bit of a tougher time against Richards last week, netting a 23-19 come-from-behind win. The victory was keyed by the Indians' defense, which caused two big turnovers to boost the team to victory.
The victory showed exactly what the Indians' are made of said Lemont head coach Eric Michaelsen, although he said another slow start could spell disaster for the Indians this week.
“I think that showed the character of our kids,” Michaelsen said. “It showed that they're going to play all four quarters. We need to come out a little bit better this week or we're going to be in trouble.”
With both teams prepping for this week's match-up, fans can expect both teams to come out with smash mouth attitudes, looking to impose their will on each other. Will Oak Forest's ground game grind down the Indians' opportunistic defense? Or will it be Lemont's rushing attack that does in the Bengals season?
Fans will find out Saturday, Nov. 10, under the lights.