OAK LAWN | Something about a seven-on-seven passing tournament just doesn't look right when Mount Carmel is taking part.
So it wasn't surprising when Caravan coach Frank Lenti had a chance to go against his old defensive coordinator, Bob Padjen of T.F. South, Lenti called something more familiar to Mount Carmel.
"I told his brother (T.F. South coach Tom Padjen) that since he's got eight guys in coverage, we're going to run the ball," Lenti said.
The Caravan did run the ball to the amusement of spectators and coaches, and the bewilderment of some players. Mount Carmel junior Anthony Thompson, a left-hander, took care of the first team quarterbacking duties for the Caravan at the Richards Passing Tournament on Saturday. Thompson looked sharp and threw a hard, tight spiral all morning. Against Richards in the second round, Thompson threw a deep hitch and go down the left side of the field to connect with the Caravan receiver in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown.
"He's got to quicken his feet up and quicken his release up," Lenti said of Thompson. "The big thing is he's got to get back to throwing the ball on time, but we don't do a whole lot of this. This is the only one-day passing league thing we do all summer."
More often than not, many of the defenses featured eight men on the field and forced better reads and passes by the quarterbacks.
"I was trying to work on timing today," Thompson said. "Running the option, a lot of teams stack the box against us. It's real important that when we get those passing chances, we capitalize on those opportunities."
T.F. South's Jerome Barker intercepted Thompson in the Rebels' round against the Caravan. Barker also had two deflected passes against Mount Carmel.
"We've only had three days of camp," Rebels head coach Tom Padjen said. "So for a lot of our young guys, and we're young, it's baptism under fire. There's some tremendous programs here, so it gives our guys a good sense of where we're at, and where we need to be."
T.F. South senior quarterback Cody Petrich said he felt great after being banged up in 2013, and that he has greatly benefited from his experience under center.
"It's a lot clearer now and easier to see defenses and coverages," Petrich said. "It's good to see these guys out here ready to learn. I'm definitely ready for the season ahead."