Omar Coleman returns to do it all for Plainfield North

Junior stars at receiver, kicker, returner

Plainfield North's Omar Coleman (11) kicks a field goal against Oswego during a football game at Plainfield North High School on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023.

Called up to varsity as a sophomore last year, Plainfield North’s Omar Coleman had his season ended by a foot injury in the second game.

Coleman is back now and doing just about everything for the Tigers.

“In the second game, I had a Lisfranc injury,” Coleman said. “I got surgery about two weeks after the injury. I was back by February and worked to get back to full force the whole winter and into the spring.

“Last year, I was excited to be a sophomore on varsity and show what I could do, so I’ve been really anxious to get back and show it now.”

Coleman has emerged as one of the top playmakers on offense for Plainfield North (2-3). The junior receiver had an 85-yard touchdown catch in a loss to Joliet West – a game in which he finished with four catches for 121 yards – and has been a consistent threat in the passing game.

He also returns kicks and punts.

Where Coleman will really surprise people, however, is when after he catches a touchdown pass he steps up to take the extra point. Coleman is also his team’s kicker and punter.

“Coach was talking about how we needed a spark and I think the whole season, in each game we need that one big spark with a big play that brings up the entire team, offense and defense. I like to try be that guy for our team.”

—  Omar Coleman, Plainfield North junior

He hit a game-winning 17-yard field goal with 1 minute, 47 seconds, left in a 10-7 win over Oswego last week.

“I missed a field goal earlier in the game, so coming out for the second one, I wasn’t necessarily nervous, but I knew I had to make it,” Coleman said. “I knew I would because we were right on the goal line. You know the significance of it, so it’s exciting, but there was still time left on the clock so you knew something could still happen. But our defense was able to finish it off.”

Plainfield North coach Anthony Imbordino knows having someone as versatile as Coleman is quite a luxury.

“He worked hard to get back from the injury,” Imbordino said. “He’s a good athlete, and we like to put athletes in positions to be successful. He’s got a pretty good leg on him for a kicker and a punter. He’s returning kicks and punts and he’s at slot receiver, so he can do a little bit of everything.”

Coleman has gotten used to playing a lot of different roles on the football field.

“Freshman year, I pretty much did all the same things, so it’s nothing new,” he said. “I think I’ve just been really athletic my whole life, and I think just having that athleticism as a whole has helped me be a versatile player.”

Kicking is something that started for Coleman freshman year, essentially on a whim.

“I always loved soccer, but I never played it,” he said. “But I kind of messed around with kicking a ball, and then I started kicking for football as a freshman. It was just kind of natural.

“I think I’ve progressed. I only kicked field goals freshman year, and this year I’m doing it all, kickoffs and punting and everything.”

Plainfield North quarterback Nick Darwish knows when he gets the ball in Coleman’s hands, good things can happen. Before the team’s Week 6 game, he even compared his teammate to Miami Dolphins star receiver Tyreek Hill.

“I see him as kind of a Tyreek Hill type of guy, where he’ll be between three defenders and all of a sudden he’ll break out of there,” Darwish said. “He’s super shifty. We’ll throw a bubble screen to him and all of a sudden he’ll turn it into a 20-yard gain. It’s great to see him get back to that after the injury.”

Darwish said Coleman is consistent and reliable.

“Omar is definitely a guy who will run any route I want him to do to perfection,” Darwish said. “Everywhere I expect him to be, he’ll be. He’s a guy I can always rely on to do his job, no matter what. When I have guys out to do some extra work, he’s always there and always giving 110%.”

For a Plainfield North team that has struggled to score, averaging 11 points over its first five games, Coleman hopes to continue to be a game-changer.

“Coach was talking about how we needed a spark and I think the whole season, in each game we need that one big spark with a big play that brings up the entire team, offense and defense,” Coleman said. “I like to try be that guy for our team.”