CHICAGO | Brandon Greer kicked it into high gear in the second half of Friday's 78th annual Prep Bowl at Soldier Field.
The senior running back rushed for 148 of his 228 yards and two touchdowns as Mount Carmel beat Simeon 34-20 to claim its 13th Prep Bowl crown.
It is the 15th city championship overall as the Caravan won city titles in 1927 and 1933 before the game became known as the Prep Bowl.
Greer was also named the game's most valuable player as the Caravan ended the season the way they began it — a win over Simeon at Soldier Field. This time, they hoisted the prestigious Prep Bowl cup that goes to the winner of this series.
Mount Carmel (10-4) led 14-13 at halftime and Greer said Caravan coach Frank Lenti told them it was time to get going.
"We went into the locker room and our coach got on my butt and he got on the offensive line." Greer said. "We came out pretty well in the second half. My line, they opened up some huge holes for me and the defense put us in great position."
Lenti said his senior back was challenged and he rose to it.
"That's why Brandon is the MVP of the game and the Lawless Award winner in the Catholic Blue," Lenti said. "Our line, we told the kids we needed to set the tempo in the first five minutes of the second half and we did."
Greer ran of runs of the 35 and 37 yards to start the third quarter with the latter resulting in a score. He also scored on a 1-yard run with 7 minutes, 21 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 27-13.
"We knew we had to take control because we weren't getting it done early," Greer said. "Simeon is a very good team and they came out strong."
The Wolverines (9-4) scored first when Robert Gregory hit Cywettnie Brown for a 23-yard score. They threatened to score again when Gregory fumbled at the Caravan 5 and Derrick Bryant recovered. Gregory injured his ankle and did not return.
"We knew the defense had to stop them — especially after they moved the ball on us," Bryant said. "We had to step up and we did the second half."
Mount Carmel got another break when Charles Regalado's interception stopped a Simeon drive led to the first of two Don Butkus' touchdown passes. The first was for 39 yards to Jason Gasser to tie the score and the second, a 9-yard pass to Frank Kelly.
"That first TD they scored, I tipped it, so I made sure I got this one," Regalado said. "I knew we had to make a play and get some momentum."
Simeon came back and scored on a 79-yard pass from Elcee Burke to Paris Ratlif and it was 14-13 at half.
Trailing 27-13, the Wolverines closed to 27-20 when Burke hit Brown with 11:54 left in the game. The defense held and Butkus put the game away with a 2-yard score with 56 seconds left.
"It's great to play in this stadium," Greer said. "A real experience and I loved playing here today."
The game had been moved to Gately Stadium, as first reported in The Times and nwi.com, then moved back to the lakefront stadium on Wednesday.