DEKALB | Mount Carmel quarterback Marko Boricich knew the call was coming.
He already knew Northern Illinois star Jordan Lynch from a Mount Carmel quarterback camp a few years back.
Still, to get a call from a Caravan great who also happens to be a Heisman Trophy candidate the night before he was going to play at Huskie Stadium, the arena Lynch has made his personal playground? That about blew Boricich’s mind.
“Coach Frank (Lenti) told me Jordan wanted my number,” Boricich said. “It was kind of paranoiac, that Jordan was going to call. And last night at 8, I actually missed his call. I was driving.”
The two quarterbacks connected a few minutes later, and Boricich was all ears.
“I’m really comfortable with him, and try to pick up something from him every time,” Boricich said. “I got close to him over the last six months, and the big thing to me is how humble a kid he is. He’s in the running for the Heisman Trophy and he’s telling me that I was a better high school quarterback than him already, because he never got downstate. Obviously, that’s a ridiculous comment. He’s Jordan Lynch! But how humble he is is the overlying thing over everything, and it teaches me to be hungry, too.”
NCAA rules prevented Lynch from walking the Mount Carmel sideline — he was only allowed on the field for a television interview — but he rooted his old school on from the east grandstand with a sea of brown-clad fans. Northern Illinois freshman running back and Mount Carmel grad Draco Smith was also in the stands.
Now, Boricich gets a couple of weeks off before he chases a fourth state championship in two years. He was a key part of the football and baseball championships collected by the Caravan in the 2012-13 academic year, and wants to accomplish the double-double in the spring. Oh, and there’s also that Prep Bowl ring he scored as a freshman.
But what about basketball?
“My freshman year, (coach Mike Flaherty) tried to recruit me,” Boricich said. “But two sports in high school are hard enough these days, let alone three.”
Tradition: A Mount Carmel tradition is for a player to put a scapular on the goal post before the game.
Each student is issued a scapular and it is worn around their neck. It is knotted a certain way.
The most widespread scapulars such as the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception relate to Marian devotions and consecrations. The official teachings of the Catholic Church indicate that the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel is one of the most highly recommended Marian devotions. This has been the case through the centuries.
Class distinction: Mount Carmel has now hit for the cycle, becoming the first school to win state football titles in four different classes. Class 7A was the missing piece of the puzzle.
In winning its first 11 state football championships, the Caravan had captured eight 5A titles from 1980 to 2000, a 6A crown in 1988 (the first under Frank Lenti) and 2002, and the 8A championship last year.
Joliet Catholic and Providence Catholic are the other schools to win championships in three different classes, 4A, 5A and 6A in each case.
Lenti’s title last season, his 10th, snapped the tie he had with retired Providence Catholic coach Matt Sneffner for most championships won. Nobody else has more than six crowns as a head coach.
"It is a tradition here and a part of what we do," offensive lineman Steve Dumezich said last week. "We put it on the goal post and we pray for Our Lady of Mount Carmel to watch over us and our opponents the game."
Just class: Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti had a couple of postgame instructions for his team.
"Let's give Lake Zurich a hand," Lenti told his team as the Bears climbed the podium to receive their second-place trophy and medals. "Let's line up for Loyola in two lines as they come out. Let's show some loyalty."
Loyola is a Catholic League Blue member and is coached by Marian Catholic, Illinois grad and former NFL linebacker John Holecek. The Caravan's plan for Loyola got sidetracked when an IHSA member asked them to get in line for the awards.
Lenti was on the podium and pumped his fist, shouting, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" to the Carmel crowd.