IN THE SPOTLIGHT
His Twitter handle is @CarsonOx4.
But don’t be mislead. Carson Ochsenhirt, New Trier’s gritty and intrepid quarterback, is more cheetah than ox.
He’s got speed to burn with uncanny elusiveness.
And obstacles? They don’t seem to stymie him.
Ochsenhirt just hurdles over those.
Which brings us to the 5:40 mark of the fourth quarter in New Trier’s 27-17 win over host Evanston on Sept. 28.
On 2nd-and-goal at the Wildkits’ 10-yard line, Ochsenhirt made like Edwin Moses at the 1984 Olympics. On a QB keeper to the left side, the junior hurdled over Evanston linebacker Charlie Gruner at the two-yard yard and dove helmet first into the end zone for a touchdown.
Need proof? Check out @CarsonOx4.
“A magnificent play,” marveled NT teammate Peter Murray. “A highlight-reel play.”
A designed play? Umm, maybe not.
“One of those hold-your-breath plays,” New Trier head coach Brian Doll said. “Something he probably saw on TV. But kudos to him.
“I wouldn’t be able to do that,” added the coach, with a smile. “I’m kind of jealous.”
The play was … pure Ochsenhirt.
“I think of myself as a Michael Vick type of player,” said Ochsenhirt, who fittingly wears jersey No. 7 (as Vick did during his days with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles).
“I’ve been wanting to do that [hurdle] for a while,” he added.
Such a play seems to be in vogue. A week earlier, in a win over Mt. Carmel, Loyola Academy senior quarterback Quinn Boyle did the very same thing.
“Really?” said a perked up Ochsenhirt, in a postgame conversation. “He hurdled over someone? I didn’t know.
“Did he land it? Did he score on it?” he asked.
For answers: check Twitter (@qpboyle7).
Meanwhile, Ochsenhirt seems to be The Answer for the Trevians (4-2, 2-0), who now have won three games in a row. A true dual threat QB, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Ochsenhirt finished last Thursday’s league contest with 189 total yards (137 rushing, 52 passing).
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said NT junior tight end/defensive end Duke Olges. “But the sky is the limit with him. There’s nothing that he can’t do.
“He’s not afraid of contact,” Olges added. “And he can hit an open space in a hurry. He makes plays.”
The fast-active — and physical — Ochsenhirt is a headache for defensive coordinators. In the win over Evanston, nine of his carries — a combination of QB keepers and madcap scrambles — went eight yards or more.
“He’s getting better and better,” said Doll. “And his understanding of the offense continues to get better and better. He’s building on it every week.”
Ochsenhirt plays football with a bold approach. He lowered his shoulder on several of those runs. He doesn’t back down.
The arm also is there with Ochsenhirt, who didn’t line up behind center until the Week Three at Barrington. He can air it out with accuracy.
His numbers could’ve have been better at Evanston. Two TD passes, including a 43-yarder, were nullified due to penalties.
“I’ve gotten a lot more game reps, and that’s given me a lot more confidence,” said Ochsenhirt. “I have more faith in myself.”
He played down the fact that this was a breakout game for him. Instead, he heaped praise on his offensive line.
“We’ve got some great blockers. Chamberlain [Coffee], Terry [Zapf], Joey [Altinian], Nick [Altinian], Colin [Morris]. All of them,” said Ochsenhirt. “I’d be nothing without them.
“There were times tonight, when I was running untouched for 10 yards,” he added.
Ochsenhirt understands the team concept. Last spring, he was the starting defensive middie for the school’s state champion lacrosse team.
That experience was invaluable.
“It was a chance to play in front of a big crowd,” said Ochsenhirt. “Up until then, I had never done that.”
Meanwhile, Ochsenhirt is not interested in playing the comparison game … with Army freshman Clay Czyzynski, a three-year starter — and dual threat — for the Trevians (2014-16).
“Obviously, he was great athlete. A great quarterback,” Ochsenhirt said. “But I just want to be me. I’m my own person.”