CHICAGO | Mount Carmel did not waste any time or opportunities Friday night.
The Times No. 2 Caravan lifted the albatross from around their necks as they beat St. Rita 27-0 in Catholic League Blue game at Gately Stadium.
It was the Caravan's first win in this storied series since 2007. It was Mount Carmel's first shutout of the Mustangs since it beat them 7-0 in 1999. It also blanked St. Rita 35-0 in 1998.
"It feels great to beat them, and it was a total team effort," Mount Carmel quarterback Don Butkus said. "It's tough to defend against the veer when you don't see it every day in practice."
Butkus scored three touchdowns and rushed for 89 yards. He was also 7-of-13 passing for 76 yards and one interception.
"We knew this would be a tough game because St. Rita is a good team," Butkus said. "We were 6-1 last year when we played them and lost and were 6-3 going into the playoffs, so this was huge."
The Caravan drove 78 yards in 14 plays with Butkus scoring on a 1-yard sneak with 7 minutes, 24 seconds left. Butkus completed two long passes on the drive, hitting Draco Smith of 20 yards and Vince Speller for 10 yards. Smith also rushed for 18 yards on the opening drive.
The Mount Carmel defense stopped St. Rita in three plays and Mount Carmel scored on its second possession. The key play was a fourth-and-4 at its own 47 when punter Joe Pavlik faked the punt and ran for 6 yards and a first down at the St. Rita 47. Mount Carmel's 16-play, 72-yard drive culminated with Butkus scoring on a 1-yard sneak off left tackle to put his team up 14-0 with 6:48 left in the second quarter.
In those first two drives, the Caravan converted five times on third down to keep the drives going.
The Mustangs charged back as Tim Lombard ripped off a 46-yard run, but some of the run was nullified due to a penalty for a block in the back. The Mustangs drove to the Caravan's 23, but turned the ball over on downs.
St. Rita got the ball back with 2:19 left in the first half and was driving when Lombard took a pass from John Kelley, but fumbled at the Caravan 17 and Deontae Brown recovered.
Mount Carmel (7-1, 2-1) limited St. Rita I4-4, 0-3) to 158 total yards while the Caravan amassed 296 yards of offense.
"We knew we had to just stop them and not let them get big plays," Caravan linebacker Ronan Flaherty said. "For us to shut them out, that was big. We all played well and we put in a lot of time all week and it paid off."
Draco Smith made it 21-0 with a 3-yard run with 3:58 left in the third quarter. Smith rushed for 60 yards.
Butkus scored on a 6-yard run with 4:41 left to ice the game.
Mount Carmel's Matt Domer rushed for 59 yards. Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said he was proud the way his team stepped up.
"They had no answer for our trap option in the second half and couldn't stop us," Lenti said. "Defensively, to shut out St. Rita, that is big because they have a lot of weapons."