Multisport Athletes Electrify Football Oak Lawn Spartans
OAK LAWN, IL — There’s a saying in high school sports that athletes who walk the halls and don’t participate in a sport are an untapped resource. So when Ryan Pattison accepted the position of head football coach at Oak Lawn Community High School this year, he knew he wanted to make the most of what the school had to offer. Thus, he used his role as a junior college basketball coach to recruit explosive hoops for the gridiron.
“I’m JV’s basketball coach and have been building relationships with the players all summer long,” Pattison said. “Our football program prides itself on having multi-sport athletes. We believe competition in general is going to help us on the football pitch.
“Basketball athletes who join the football program add athleticism that makes the team very difficult to schedule on Friday nights. Wrestling athletes who play football also bring their own physical and understanding contributions. body control. We have several other players who play other sports, and I think that’s one of the reasons why we compete on Friday nights. We have a group of young men and women who want to win games of football.
For many of these multi-sport athletes at Oak Lawn, this is their first year of college football. However, the Spartans are currently 2-2 this season, and these versatile athletes are a big reason for that. One basketball player Gabe Duer has emerged as a leader under center, and he’s joined by fellow hoopers and two-way football players Eduardo Chiquito, Davion Lawrence as well as running back Nicco Reyes. Gavin Butler, a guard on the basketball team, has explosive speed out of the backfield. Evan Zambrano is another force to be reckoned with, and baseball player Jack McGlynn plays fiercely on defense.
Coaches from other sports like the approach Pattison takes with the football program.
“I think it’s good for the football program, but it’s also good for the baseball program because these kids are going to get stronger in the spring,” baseball head coach Bill Gerny said. “At the moment in high school athletics, a lot of people push the students to focus on one sport. I don’t think it helps the athlete or the school as a whole to do that. I like this that we do.”
Despite the added risk of injury from playing a violent sport like football, the positives seem to outweigh any negatives.
Head basketball coach Jason Rhodes agrees, “It’s great to see our guys on the gridline on Friday nights contributing positively to the school’s football program and culture,” he said. -he declares. “They seem to have fun competing and making memories with their teammates, that’s what the high school experience is all about.”
Car Pattison, who coached for eight years at Morton High School as well as other stages along the way, is not just here to grow the football program, but he wants to help student-athletes grow in all facets of life. He tries to build a culture of men on the playground and in the classroom.
“I love the south side vibe of the Oak Lawn community,” Pattison said. “I believe the administration and I are on exactly the same page when it comes to serving student-athletes. I believe the OLCHS can have a competitive football program year after year while helping student-athletes to develop holistically as people as they mature through the program.”
This attitude definitely gives the football program an electric vibe on Friday nights. The Spartans will entertain Tinley Park High School in the Oak Lawn Community High School Homecoming Game on October 1.
~ Contributed by Brian Frangella, OLCHS Editor