Eight victories. Five shutouts. Five routs scoring 45 or more points.
Mount Carmel appears to be playoff-ready, but coach Frank Lenti saw flaws to be repaired from Friday's 17-0 victory against Providence Catholic.
"I told the kids they did not play very aggressively," Lenti said after the Caravan's first-round Class 8A playoff pairing with Brother Rice was announced. "I think we got a little full of ourselves after the St. Rita game."
Mount Carmel (8-1, 3-1) finished second in the Catholic League Blue. The major imperfection against Providence was a fumble by quarterback Don Butkus on Mount Carmel's first play from scrimmage, but that hung around the Caravan like an unwanted relative. It took until late in the first quarter for the Caravan to get a first down.
Now come the playoffs, and the quest for the school's first state football title since 2001. The Caravan's only loss was to Loyola Academy, in overtime. Defensive back Vincent Speller wants a rematch.
"We just want to see them again," Speller said. "We think we can make it to state and win it. That's our goal."
A rematch would happen in the 8A championship game. !~ Tim Cronin
A big turnaround: Despite losing to share the South Suburban Blue Conference title with Oak Forest and Lemont, Rebels coach Tom Padjen said he is proud the way his team kept its focus on playing fundamental football.
The Rebels had a bit of a first-half breakdown Friday in a 28-20 loss to Oak Forest.
"We still got a conference championship and to think that we would be here after getting blown out by Crete-Monee in the first game, that is quite an accomplishment," Padjen said. "You look at last year, when were 1-5 at one point and this group worked hard to get us back on the winning track. !~ Mike Nieto
Happy to be here: Bloom Township coach Tony Palombi was in a different situation Saturday night as the playoff pairings were announced on TV. For the first time since 1989 and first time since Bloom and Bloom Trail high schools merged athletics in 1995, the Chicago Heights school was in the postseason.
"I was trying to figure who we would play, and the breackets, then I said, 'Hey, we're in and at least we are playing in postseason,'" Palombi said. "We are happy to be in the playoffs, but we also have to get ready for Simeon. We want to play hard and keep playing." !~ Mike Nieto