September 27, 2007
This is a red-letter weekend for red-and-white Hinsdale Central with tears and cheers for the old school:
* Former sports stars Craig and Jim Bouchard, Ken Koranda and the late John Imrie willl be inducted with two others into the Hinsdale Central Foundation Hall of Fame Friday night at the Hinsdale Golf Club.
* A boulder with a plaque honoring Bill Huskisson, a two-time all-area football lineman and 25-year faculty member who died of cancer a year ago last Sunday, will be dedicated on the practice field at halftime of Saturday's homecoming game with Downers North.
* Downers North's quarterback is Andrew Orton, whose father, Wally, became an unlikely kicking hero for Hinsdale Central in 1974 when he nailed a field goal inside the 30-year line late in the Old Oaken Bucket game with the clock running down for a 9-7 victory, then kicked another winning field goal the next weekend against Glenbard West. The score: 3-0 in overtime.
The Huskisson boulder will be near the practice area for linemen. There's presidence for it from a rock outside of Hinsdale Central's gymnasium with a plaque reading, "Peter's Rock In Memory of Peter Winston Friend" for a Class of 1959 member.
"Bill touched more lives than he ever knew," said Jim Zajicek, Hinsdale Central assistant football coach and head wrestling coach who spawned the Husk Rock project and is overseeing it through the family business AZCO Builders. "He was everyone's friend."
Huskisson's widow, Lynda, and children Abby, and twins Colin and Brock, will be at the ceremony with Bill's brother, Jim.
"I was so moved when Jim Zajicek told me the plans," Lynda said. "The timing was so meaningful from Bill having passed away just over a year ago. This is coming from Jim's heart. The Rock is the singular foundation of our spiritual being.
"Last week was the saddest week of my life from reliving Bill's final days one year later. Your first concern is: How are we going to get along? Our pastor at Christ Church of Oak Brook told us, 'God will provide. You'll see,' and he has.
"Our pastor also said, 'You can't walk around grief. You have to walk through it.' "
Lynda has done all that -- from the engraving of Bill's gravestone at Bronswood Cemetery to family gatherings to getting the kids ready for their new school year.
"It's ironic that the last Central game Bill saw was at Downers North last year when (Central teacher) Chris Korfist and (athletic director) Tom Schweer got him on the field. It meant so much to him," Lynda said.
Contribution envelopes to the Huskisson Children Education Fund will be available at the Husk Rock dedication or by contacting Angela Pacheco, Hinsdale Bank and Trust, 25 E. First St., Hinsdale, Il. 60521.
Wallly Orton was a junior in 1974 when coach Gene Strode sent him into the Old Oaken Bucket game with Downers North to kick for injured Jeff Rauen with Hinsdale trailing 7-6.
"I think everyone thought I was going to miss," Orton said. "Guys were saying in the huddle, 'Make it ... make it ... make it.' I kept thinking what the seniors would do to me if I did miss it. Fortunately, it went right through."
Huskisson was one of those in the huddle.
"Bill was a great player and leader on a great team,'' Orton said of the West Suburban Conference championship Red Devils who were 7-3 overall. "My emotions will be mixed Saturday. I'll be wearing my Downers North sweatshirt because of Andrew, younger son Matt, who's a lineman, and daughter Katlyn, who's a cheerleader, but I always wear my Hinsdale Central T-shirt underneath."
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