Being tall is not all for Devils’ Bunting
Hinsdale, IL - Friday, September 14, 2012: Hinsdale Central's Ricky Beuke (24) celebrates Ian Bunting's (1) touchdown vs Glenbard West putting Hinsdale up 7-0. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:40AM
HINSDALE — Advancing to the second round of the state Class 8A football playoffs was too tall an order for Hinsdale Central Friday when Oak Park-River Forest won 28-24 on a sideline pass that was tipped into the air and taken 50 yards for a touchdown with a minute left.
The Red Devils (7-3) had hoped to have their tallest weapon available in 6-foot-6, 210-pound junior receiver Ian Bunting, but he was still recovering from a right-foot hairline fracture that he had suffered in Game 5 of the regular season when a Lyons tackler caught him from behind on a catch across the middle.
“I knew I was hurt, but I didn’t know the extent,” said Bunting, who had 16 catches for 412 yards and four touchdowns after earning a varsity letter last year during a 6-4 season that ended with a 28-24 loss to Mount Carmel in the 8A opener.
Bunting had a special rehab boot removed last week, but coach Rich Tarka and head trainer Sarah Carlson carefully monitored the healing process and determined the foot needed more time to heal. It was doubly frustrating for Bunting when he “got a good look” at Oak Park’s winning play from the sideline.
“I tried to get in the game earlier, but it wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “I‘m really going to miss the guys next year. We had great players at quarterback (Brian Owens), running back (Jack Adams), receivers (John Claussen, Tom Herr, Chase Hamilton), offensive linemen and defensive players.”
Bunting is taking Big Ten merry-go-round recruitment trips. He’s been to Iowa and Wisconsin, and will visit Purdue Saturday. More trips are probable.
“It’s a fun process,” Bunting said. “The people are so friendly. I really like the guys from Iowa. The strength coach said, `If you don’t plan on graduating, then don’t come to Iowa.’ Academics are extremely important there. That’s one of the most important things to me.”
Gaining weight is important to Bunting, too.
“Colleges have a way of packing it on where you need it,” Bunting said. “I definitely need more pounds.”
Height is big in the Bunting family. Father Steve and mother Susan each are over 6 feet and Bunting’s late maternal grandfather Paul Rybak was 6-6.
“Dad had four daughters, whom he loves dearly,” Susan said. “He was so excited when Ian came along, but unfortunately he didn’t live long enough to see him grow up.”
The Red Devils gave themselves a different look for the playoffs with Mohawk haircuts “to look meaner.” Most, however, shaved their heads bald when they lost to Oak Park.
Bunting should be ready for basketball with coach Nick LaTorre in time for Thanksgiving tournament games.
“Basketball was the first word Ian ever spoke,” mom Susan said. ~.