Braden Contreras is called "OBJ" by some around Hinsdale Central.
Contreras, a senior wide receiver, laughs a little at the comparison to star NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Opposing cornerbacks aren't laughing.
Contreras already has caught 10 touchdown passes this season from quarterback Michael Brescia for 6-0 Hinsdale Central.
He grabbed three of them last Friday, in a 28-21 win over York.
For that performance, Contreras was voted as the Friday Night Drive Team of the Week MVP with a whopping 450 votes, taking the top honor in a close vote over runner-up Cole Conn of St. Charles East. A record total of 8,400 votes were cast for the Team of the Week.
Contreras was presented his MVP belt, sponsored by Rosati’s in Crystal Lake, at Tuesday’s practice in front of his teammates and coaches. Contreras then answered a few questions from Suburban Life sports editor Joshua Welge.
First off, last week, a challenging week, York is a pretty good team, how were you guys able to pull it off and stay undefeated?
Contreras: We were down a couple kids on defense so we kind of brought the offense together and really said we need to make the big plays, pick each other up and play our game. We knew we'd be set.
You have 10 touchdown catches so far this season from Mike. That's a pretty good connection going on. How good is the chemistry between you two guys?
Contreras: We brought him up sophomore year so I kind of knew he'd play a lot this year, so we worked all offseason, all winter, in the snow, any time we really could. I took him under my wing, practiced as much as I could just to get that chemistry going, get everything rolling. We came to summer camp and the connection was already there, and we rolled with it.
Yes, I talked you about that in the offseason. You felt pretty good about that connection, right?
Contreras: He's probably the hardest worker I know. It's pretty obvious that he was going to be the starting QB and an amazing player. He already is, proven to everyone that he will be something special.
I know you guys have a lot you want to accomplish still, but what does it mean to be 6-0 had having the season you've had in an unusual year, after all the program went through in the offseason with the referendum and possibly losing football and everything?
Contreras: Especially all the stuff that happened in the offseason, a lot of people doubting that stuff, talking down on us, it feels good. We came out, same energy, we felt like we were ready to go, proving everybody wrong. It feels good to meet our first couple goals. We want to keep our minds on the week in front of us.
Anything new going on recruiting-wise?
Contreras: Nothing much, just focusing right now on my team, get this thing rolling. I went down to Butler a few weeks ago to watch a game, check out the campus again, meet more coaches and some players. Hopefully get a couple more scheduled, I plan on heading up to Dayton for the next home game.
Is there a receiver that you like to watch play?
Contreras: Yeah, everyone makes fun but I'm a big Odell Beckham fan. I like his style, his play, how passionate he is for the game. Some people call me OBJ around here.
Is there a highlight reel catch that you've made that people still talk about around here?
Contreras: Yeah, last year I kind of proved that OBJ name when I made a one-handed catch in our homecoming game. That was pretty special to me, I wanted that one.
What's your best athletic achievement, or is to come?
Contreras: I wanted to break some records, I broke our receiver touchdown record a few games ago, that was pretty cool for me to be up on this list at this school.