This year’s matchup of bitter crosstown rivals Oswego High School and Oswego East High School means more than ever. The game could go a long way in deciding a conference champion as both squads enter this contest tied atop the Southern Prairie Conference undefeated at 6-0.
“It’s a really big game,” OHS senior Jamal Fomby said about the matchup. “It’s the game that decides conference.”
The Panthers’ charge this year is headed up by three seniors: quarterback Noah Parker, running back Charles Coleman and wide receiver Fomby. Their play on the offensive side of the ball has elevated the Panthers to their six wins so far this season.
One aspect of this offense that cannot be understated is Fomby’s fantastic play. Fomby averages 101.8 yards per game, which leads all Panther receivers. The next highest receiver in that stat, junior Jack Lemke, trails Fomby’s mark by nearly 55.8 yards per game.
Panthers Head Coach Brian Cooney has also done a great job of integrating the run game into the offense, especially early in the season when QB Parker was still getting his bearings in his first season as a starter. Coleman has benefited the most from the early reliance of the run game, averaging 110.6 YPG, and punching it across the goalline nine times on the ground.
“Same kids, year after year, weeks one, two, three and four; those are the same ones you probably see get the ball against Oswego East,” said Cooney about Fomby and Coleman.
Cooney also noted that “last year, we had a kid who scored two touchdowns who wasn’t a starter.” In other words, anyone can have a big night Crosstown week.
Oswego East has no shortage of talent on its roster either, as senior Justin Clark has lived up to the hype, dominating all three phases for the Wolves. East has used the Northern Illinois University commit in the running, passing and return games. On the ground, Clark has put up 133 total yards and four touchdowns entering this week. Clark has also acquired 335 yards and five touchdowns total through the air.
Keion Battle has made his name known throughout the first six weeks for OE as well. The junior wideout has 303 yards receiving with four total touchdowns through the first six weeks.
“Everybody’s locked in,” Fomby said about the team’s approach going up against their explosive rival. “No one wants to be the first team to lose to Oswego East.”
OHS’s Noah Parker averages 182.4 yards per game, with 10 total touchdowns. East’s Quarterback, Corey Provow, on the other hand, has averaged 68.3 yards per game, with eight total touchdowns. OE’s numbers aren’t quite as high as OHS’s, but that’s due in part to the dominant Wolf defense providing its offense with stellar field position night in and night out.
OE’s cornerstone has been its defense, giving up just six points through the first six weeks.
OHS’s defense has been strong as well; however, it has given up a total of 50 points through six games.
This years matchup will take place at Oswego East.
“By the time I get there, all I’m thinking about is the game,” Fomby said. “My mind’s not wandering off to anything else other than playing.”
The top spot in the SPC is up for grabs at Oswego East this Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets are now on sale in the Athletic Office for students to purchase in person. A set amount of tickets is also released online every day at 8 a.m. until Friday, or until all tickets are sold out.