Versatile Garrett Oakey gets heavy dose of QB in Hinsdale Central loss

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Long kick return the difference in 14-9 loss to Glenbard West


Garrett Oakey perhaps is mostly aptly described as a football "athlete."

Oakey, a senior, played running back all through his sophomore year at Hinsdale Central. He was moved to slot receiver last year, but switched back to running back this fall.

When the Red Devils want to switch things up, Oakey takes snaps from the shotgun at quarterback. He threw his first touchdown pass earlier this season.

"It's been in the works for a while," Oakey said of his new role. "We've been doing it since Week 4."

A muddy track at Glenbard West's Duchon Field Saturday was an ideal time for the heaviest dose of Oakey the quarterback yet.

Oakey gave Hinsdale Central a spark there, running for 104 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown, but the Hilltoppers prevailed 14-9 to get a leg up in the West Suburban Silver Conference race.

The Red Devils (5-2, 3-1) scuffled through their first four drives, then made the switch.

Oakey took snaps from the shotgun, and ran the ball seven times during a 15-play drive. When he wasn't busy doing that, Oakey lined up wide and caught passes of eight and 13 passes from Connor Bauer.

Hinsdale's drive stalled, but Quentin Wallace's 20-yard field goal pulled the Red Devils within 7-3 with 15 seconds left in the half.

"We needed a little pick-me-up, and we needed an extra blocker," Hinsdale coach Dan Hartman said. "We got Garrett at quarterback and we kind of rolled."

They stuck with it, too, part out of necessity.

Dark clouds over Duchon opened up right after halftime, and the rest of the game was played in a steady downpour.

Neither team mustered much offense, and passing games were virtually non-existent. Indiana-bound tight end Matt Bjorson was held without a catch for Hinsdale. Glenbard (6-1, 4-0) completed just one pass total.

"It was hard to pass the ball in this weather," Oakey said "You could barely keep your hands dry."

Hard to run, too, but Oakey broke free for a 30-yard touchdown run that pulled the Red Devils within 14-9 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.

"It was hard. You couldn't really get any traction. It was all trenches," Oakey said. "It was hard to break one loose. You couldn't really make any cuts. It was smashmouth football the whole time. I think we played them really well. We caught a couple bad breaks."

Special teams, ultimately, proved the difference.

Glenbard's Jamari Peoples blocked a punt late in the first quarter, setting up the Hilltoppers with a short field. It led to Dre Thomas' 3-yard touchdown run, the game's first score.

After Wallace's field goal, Glenbard's Tyquan Cox took the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the half, giving the Hilltoppers a 14-3 lead.

"That really turned the game," Oakey said.

Hinsdale, trailing 14-9, had its best chance at the lead when Nick Biancalana blocked a punt late in the third quarter. Glenbard, though, held firm in the red zone.

Luke Skokna, who also took snaps out of the shotgun, ran for 56 yards on 13 carries. Bauer was 4-for-11 for 49 yards and two interceptions for Hinsdale, which hosts Lyons Township next.

"We're still not out of it (the conference race)," Oakey said. "Hopefully we can get an upset from Oak Park (over Glenbard West) and beat LT."

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