CHICAGO | A contest featuring more combined wins by the coaches than any other football game in IHSA history might have seemed like an attractive matchup, especially since No. 1 Mount Carmel and Bishop McNamara came in ranked among the elite in their respective classes.
But Mount Carmel is a Class 8A team with a roster 80 deep. Bishop McNamara, the Associated Press's No. 3 squad in Class 4A, dressed 32 players and lost two to injury in what became a 42-0 Caravan victory at Gately Stadium.
Mount Carmel's Jimmy Mickens ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns as his team improved to 3-0 with the Catholic League crossover win. Matt Domer (12 carries, 87 yards) returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for another score.
That quick strike didn't seem to bother the Fighting Irish (2-1), at least as long as they could continue handing the ball to Jonathan Ward.
The sophomore running back got the call on McNamara's first eight snaps, rushing for 47 yards and three first downs. He suffered a concussion on the last of those, a 12-yard carry to the Caravan 37, ending his day.
"You hate to lose a guy like that," Caravan coach Frank Lenti, who added to his state record with his 329th career win, said. "They're difference-makers. You don't replace guys like that in very many programs."
McNamara tried, but after Christian Searles made a brilliant, leaping interception of Irish quarterback Jared Marcotte at the Caravan 1 yard line, McNamara never seriously threatened again. For the game, Mount Carmel held McNamara to 114 total yards, 36 of those coming in the second half.
"I'm really happy that we got the ball and marched right down the field on them," said Irish coach Rich Zinanni, whos is third on the IHSA career wins list with 310. "We took it to them pretty good for a while.
"It is what it is. We're in the league. We've got to play these crossover games."
After Searles' interception, the first of four for the Mount Carmel defense, the Caravan took four snaps to go 99 yards. On first down, Marko Boricich carried for 3 yards. Then Mickens went for 16, 67 and 13 for Mount Carmel's second touchdown.
"He's very much like Draco Smith was last year," Lenti said. "If people are going to focus on Matt Domer, we've got another go-to guy who can make things happen."
Boricich (4-for-7, 55 yards) added touchdowns on a run of 14 yards and a pass of 3 yards to Brendan Griffin.for one touchdown and threw 3 yards for another. Niko Vjestica ran 20 yards for the final Caravan touchdown.
Mount Carmel hosts fellow Catholic League power Brother Rice next week in its homecoming game.
Mount Carmel now owns a 4-0 edge in its series with McNamara, having previously beaten the Irish in 1995, 2003 and 2004.