CHICAGO | Mount Carmel found a simple cure for what ailed them last week.
Hand the ball to Matt Domer.
He took care of the rest. Scoring three touchdowns and running for 161 yards on 15 carries, Domer, with touchdown runs of 9, 50 and 59 yards, led the top-ranked Caravan to a 24-3 victory over St. Rita before about 5,000 fans on Friday night.
It was Mount Carmel's 700th win. Only East St. Louis has as many in Illinois.
And when Domer wasn't running the ball, quarterback Marko Boricich was. He scampered for 111 yards, including a 66-yard run on the first play of the third quarter, to emphasize the idea that this Mount Carmel (5-0, 2-0) crew is as good as last year's state Class 8A outfit.
After last week's 28-20 victory over Brother Rice, when the defense faltered, some wondered.
Wonder no more. The defense was on the field for only 54 snaps against St. Rita (4-1, 0-1).
"Our goal is to win the Catholic League Blue, and we knew they stood in our way," Domer said. "We came out with a punch. We played the way we're supposed to play."
With Mount Carmel controlling the ball and the clock – Boricich threw only five passes – the contest was similar to last year's playoff game at Lyons Township. Eventually, the Lions were forced to throw. So were the Mustangs, and that didn't work out. St. Rita's Tommy Mister was picked off twice, by Greg Ploszaj and Christian Searles, while the Caravan defensive line helped hold St. Rita to 95 rushing yards.
"When we play Mount Carmel football, you see what happens out there," Domer said.
The Caravan's defense recovered from its previous outing against Brother Rice, holding St. Rita to 227 yards, and just 45, all on the ground, in the first half. Domer had five yards more than that on his second touchdown run.
"Rita's scored at will against people and we allowed them three points," Caravan coach Frank Lenti said. "A big part of that is the kicking game keeping the field tilted, and most of the time, we drove the ball even when we didn't score."
"Holding them to 24 points, I'd think we'd have a chance," St. Rita coach Todd Kuska said. "Things didn't work out."