Aidan Tweedy had one whirlwind of a last week of high school football – but it ended on an incredible high.
Tweedy, Oswego’s senior offensive lineman, didn’t think he’d be able to go Friday at Minooka because of a lingering left shoulder injury from Week 4. He didn’t practice all week, and was still a no go all the way up to Friday morning.
But he was cleared that morning, and in uniform that night – swapping spots on the offensive line with Otto Hess – for Oswego’s 21-14 win that clinched the Southwest Prairie West championship.
“Pretty good rollercoaster, I would say,” said Tweedy, who is playing collegiately at Wayne State.
Tweedy, usually Oswego’s starting right tackle, had his shoulder dislocated in the back, a torn labrum and partially torn deltoid on the second-to-last play of the Panthers’ Week 4 game with Oswego East. He wrapped it up, and was cleared to play Week 5 against Yorkville, but the shoulder popped out again. Tweedy went to see a doctor last Tuesday, who told him he couldn’t play.
“I thought my season was done the entire week,” Tweedy said. “Friday morning, went to get a surgery consult about labrum repair, and as I was talking to the doctor the topic came up if I could play. He explained to me that it would be a risk, but I could do it. I wasn’t even going to the doctor’s appointment thinking I’d be cleared; I was going to get a treatment plan. The chances of me hurting myself worse were small enough that it was a risk worth taking.”
Hess, normally Oswego’s left tackle, got the text from Tweedy in the linemen chat around 2 p.m. that said “I’m back.”
“We had five hours to get ready; we didn’t know what would happen,” said Hess, a Boston College recruit.
But Hess sure was glad to have his buddy back.
“Week 4 freshman year we had four starters, and three of us – Carter Anderson, Aidan and I – have been starting the last four years, and Dylan [Mahon] a left guard the last three years,” Hess said. It was huge to have that last piece of the four of us who have been playing together for so long back.”
To protect the shoulder Tweedy wore a shoulder brace, and also used a practice belt that was tied to the inside of his shoulder pads to keep the elbow from flaring out.
Tweedy also switched positions with Hess – Tweedy going to left tackle, Hess to right – so he could stop inside moves with his right arm.
“That way it would be easier for me and easier on my arm,” Tweedy said. “It wasn’t terrible. We practice all the time going from the other side. The really uncomfortable part was the stance. I got used to it as time wore on. The coaches knew I was a little handicapped in a way. We called the game so I wasn’t put in too many uncomfortable situations. The right to left wasn’t too big of a deal, the brace wasn’t horrible. Definitely weird but not too bad.”
Hess, who had started every game since freshman year but one at left tackle, made an interesting comparison to what playing right tackle is like.
“It’s like driving in England. Everything is backwards,” Hess said. “We each have our own strengths. Aidan is the better run blocker, I’m the better pass blocker. Other than that, I got used to it pretty quickly. It’s a good thing our offensive linemen are all smart people. We think we can play all five positions.”
It all added up to one memorable last football Friday in a most unusual season.
“I said it in a postgame interview that this was the wildest moment of my career,” Tweedy said. “Start of the week, thinking high school football was done, time to think about college, spent the whole week teaching our starting right guard to play right tackle, he was ready to step in. Luckily, I was able to get in there.”
Team of the Week
The Kendall County area was well-represented in the final Friday Night Drive Team of the Week. Oswego sophomore receiver Deakon Tonielli, who had eight catches for 128 yards in the Panthers’ 21-14 win over Minooka, was voted to the team. So were Oswego teammates Otto Hess at offensive line and Evan Brown, who scored the game-winning touchdown, at linebacker. Also on the team is Plano defensive lineman Kevin Serio.
Oswego, previously unranked, finished No. 13 in the final Illinois Coaches Class 8A poll.