CHICAGO | The Mount Carmel seniors said they learned more than winning from last year's senior class, who won a state title.
Winning is a habit at Mount Carmel and so is senior leadership. The two go hand-in-hand said senior offensive tackle Steve Dumezich.
"That is what we learned from them because those guys were leaders," Dumezich said. "Donny (Butkus), Jason Gasser, (Brian) Parker, Joey Pavlik, Buster (Sheridan) and the others, they were leaders and made sure the younger guys were all on the same page."
That team won the Class 8A championship at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium. Its lone loss was to Loyola Academy. This year's team is playing Lake Zurich at 4 p.m. today at Northern Illinois' Huskie Stadium for the Class 7A championship, and its lone loss was to Loyola.
That game was played over two days due to inclement weather and darkness. Mount Carmel had four unforced turnovers in the fourth quarter in the loss.
"For us, that was kind of the time for the seniors to get everybody together," senior running back Matt Domer said. "Time for the senors to step up like last year's group did.
"You need the seniors to step up and we had to make sure everyone on the same page and had the same goals."
Senior offensive lineman Oscar Reyes agreed.
"We did struggle against Loyola and a few weeks earlier against Brother Rice," Reyes said. "The seniors knew we had to pick it up for us to be successful."