CHICAGO | Times No. 1 Mount Carmel didn't have that spark it had the first three games and it showed, but the Caravan got the job done with a 28-20 Catholic League Blue win over Brother Rice on Friday at Gately Stadium.
Running back Matt Domer lit a fire as he doubled his touchdown total for the year by reaching the endzone three times, including once on a touchdown pass, but said he and his teammates were anything but impressive.
"We did not come out focused and it showed," Domer said. "We made a lot of mistakes and didn't capitalize on some opportunities when we had the chance.
"This was not Mount Carmel football."
Domer rushed for 110 yards and now has 286 yards on the season.
Mount Carmel (4-0, 1-0) was forced to run out the clock after Brother Rice's Brian Kane's second field goal of the game pulled the Crusaders (1-3, 0-1) within 28-20 with 2:42 left. That scoring drive was set up by a Caravan fumble.
It was the Caravan's 12th straight win dating back to last year and the program's 699th overall. It was also coach Frank Lenti's birthday, but the coach also saw a lot of room for improvement.
"We had stupid penalties, pass interference, roughing the kicker," Lenti said. "We did not play well. I told the kids to start listening to the coaches instead of listening to others telling you how good you are.
"We had some momentum, scored early in the second half, but then we didn't score again."
Mount Carmel led 21-10 at halftime and took a 28-10 lead after Domer scored his third touchdown on a 12-yard run with 6:37 left in the third.
The Caravan defense came up big after they took a 14-10 lead on an 18-yard touchdown run by Domer with 4:34 left in the first half. It put Mount Carmel up 14-10.
The defense held, but roughing the punter gave the Crusaders a first down at midfield. On the next play, Mount Carmel's Enoch Smith knocked the ball loose from Brother Rice quarterback Alex Alarcon and Deandre Greer fell on the loose ball at the Rice 38. Six plays later, Marko Boricich hit Domer on the left side and he ran 12 yards for the touchdown, which put Mount Carmel up 21-10.
"I was just trying to make a play and I thought I had sacked him," said Smith, a Michigan State recruit. "Next thing, I hear yelling and see everyone jumping up and down."
Boricich was 8-of-12 passing with one interception and 110 yards. Jimmy Mickens added 53 yards rushing.
The Crusaders got on the board first after an interception. Brian Kane kicked a 47-yard field goal with 7:26 left in the first.
The Caravan came back to score on Boricich's 2-yard run with 11:15 left in the second quarter.