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'We’re underrated': Oak Park High School football primed for breakout season in 2023

Oak Park Northmen enter upcoming season focusing on speed, physicality on defense
Posted at 2:59 PM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 23:59:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ready to wake up some naysayers around the Kansas City area high school football scene, the Oak Park High School Northmen believe they have what it takes to put together a special season.

“We're underrated,” Oak Park quarterback Aiden Hinkle said ahead of a steamy practice in Kansas City. “Last year, we weren't ranked as a team and we got ranked top 25 in the city multiple times. Now, we're ranked in the top 25 (again) this year, so we're underrated and we're ready."

Entering their seventh season under head coach Ken Clemens, Oak Park looks to straighten out a topsy, turvy home and road split which caused problems in 2022.

“We're going to have a fast and aggressive defense,” Clemens said. “We have more road games than home, so we’ll have to find a way to bring the same energy we brought at home on the road."

Energized by a summer’s worth of strenuous workouts, Oak Park says they’re primed for another big year.

“I think we have a great potential of going to state this year,” Oak Park defensive end Benjamin Brandes said. “Whatever we can do 24/7, 24 hours a day, we're always working if it's about looking at film, if we're up here on the field just working as hard as possible."

Oak Park opens the season Friday, Aug, 25, against Winnetonka.