CHICAGO | With Mount Carmel running back Matt Domer nursing an injury and resting up for the start of the playoffs, Jaquan Buntyn made the most of his chances in the backfield Friday for the Caravan.
Buntyn rushed for 173 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries to help lead the Caravan to a 59-13 Catholic League crossover win over Leo at Carey Field. The Mount Carmel offense rushed for 363 yards on the ground and held the Leo offense to 111 total yards on the day.
“We just worked as a team and executed,” Buntyn said. “It was exciting to get a chance to get some carries.”
The Caravan (8-1) jumped all over Leo early, scoring 24 first quarter points. Buntyn added his first rushing touchdown in the second quarter when he took a hand off 24 yards for the 30-0 Caravan lead. Mount Carmel added a second quarter safety to take a 33-0 lead into the half.
“We had a lot of different personnel in there today,” Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said. “We used four different quarterbacks, and overall I was happy with what I saw. We were able to move the ball.”
Mount Carmel was able to gain 21 first downs on the day as opposed to seven for the Lions. Jimmy Mickens rushed for two touchdowns for the Caravan, and Buntyn added a third quarter touchdown from 39 yards out.
Mount Carmel lost three fumbles on the day, one of which was returned by Leo for a 35-yard score. But it didn't matter.
“There's some stuff to clean up there with the fumbles,” Lenti said. “We have stuff to work on, but the offense was working today.”
The Caravan, who finished 3-1 in the Catholic League Blue, finished in a three-way tie for the conference title as St. Rita beat Loyola Academy Friday night. by virtue of a point differential, Mount Carmel is the designated conference representative to the state playoffs.
Kyle Czubak and Niko Vjestica each had fourth quarter touchdowns for the Caravan. Mount Carmel played the rare game at Carey Field behind the school, and Lenti was pleased to play right in the team's backyard for a change.
“It's always great to walk right outside and play a game,” Lenti said. “It's was good to come out and get the win.”
Buntyn said practice will be the key to getting the Caravan prepared for the playoffs.
“We were really playing at home because we practice here everyday,” Buntyn said of the matinee at Carey Field. “We just need to practice hard this week and get ready.”