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Oak Park's offensive line, rushing attack leads the way to round one win over U-D Jesuit

Football   | Ben Szilagy

Oak Park's offensive line, rushing attack leads the way to round one win over U-D Jesuit

Hazel Park — It’s easy to run behind Oak Park’s massive 1,323-pound offensive line. On Friday night, that’s all the Knights had to do to beat U-D Jesuit (26-17) in the Division 2 pre-districts.

“Our line has so much depth,” Oak Park senior running back Najee Trinity said. “We had two JV linemen step up tonight, and I was missing my two starting tackles. I didn’t know what to expect. But my guys made it easy.

“I’ve never played UD before, but I knew coach (Greg Carter) did and I wanted to make sure we played another game.”

Oak Park (7-3) will face Detroit Martin Luther King in the District Finals next week.

The 5-foot-9 transfer from John Glenn continuously disappeared and then exploded through his blockers and ran at will all night long churning out 96-yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns in the first half.

On the opening drive Trinity spearheaded the Knights’ charge on five carries to tie the score, 7-7, to match his counterpart Elijah Collins explosive one play 85-yard drive with 2:42 left in the first quarter.

“Najee did a great job, and so did our offensive line. You have to give our kids a lot of credit for the work they put in tonight against a crowded box,” Carter said.

The Cubs (6-3) regained the lead, 10-7, on the ensuing drive on a 30-yard field goal by Niccolo Seilo with 10:07 remaining in the second quarter.

Oak Park then capitalized off great field position on a crucial fourth down stand from the Knight defense to yield a short field.

“It was an incredible stop. Our kids believed in the play and in the system and played extremely hard in a big moment. You have to make those kids of plays if you’re going to win in the playoffs,” Carter said.

While the defense was making stops, Trinity on offense was nearly unstoppable on the ensuing drive as he ran for a 23-yard gain to bring the Knights into the red zone for the second time.

This time around the Knights didn’t turn the ball over on downs. Instead, Trinity ran his second touch down of the night on a 9-yard carry to regain the lead, 13-10, after the PAT was missed with 2:18 left in the second quarter. Trinity finished the game with 177 yards rushing on 33 carries.

On the Knight’s ensuing possession with another short field, senior Dylan Stack