8/24 7:00 @
Week #9 vs.Joliet (Catholic)(8-1)
Mudelein (Carmel HS) - At Carmel's field there is a banner hanging from the press box which reads "Unfinished Business". While it wasn't a direct reference to beating Joliet Catholic, even Carmel head coach Andy Bitto couldn't say that wasn't a part of it, after the Corsairs 41-14 victory of the Hilltoppers Friday night.
"It's our theme this year. In reference at how close we've come the last two years" coach Bitto said. "They're a really good team and going undefeated in the regular season & winning a state championship is our goal. So beating teams like Joliet & Marian Catholic is part of our goal"
Early on things didn't seem as rosey as the 41-14 score would suggest though. The Corsairs came out looking a little groggy and with a steady downpour they were forced to play more of a running game before passing the ball later on.
Joliet Catholic scored first on a Bill McKeon (so. QB 5'10 170) 19 yard run with just under 5 minutes left in the first quarter. This after JC stopped Carmel and forced them to punt on their first possession.
Carmel's Mark Venegoni (sr. QB 6'2 205) most likely not wanting to be shown up by a sophomore, slipped through the JC defense for a 37 yard run to even up the game at seven a piece two minutes in to the 2nd quarter.
The key to the Corsairs victory in this game was really their play on fourth down. They came up big twice on defense. Stopping JC on 4th & 2 at the Carmel 27. Then once again on a fake punt at mid field. Both would result in Carmel touchdowns.
Carmel's second TD came on the very first play after the stopping JC on 4th & 2. Darren Davis (jr. RB 6' 199) sped past the JC defenders for a 76 yard run. The drive that would ensue after the blocked punt would also lead to a Corsairs score. As Venegoni would connect with James Looby (sr. DB 5'10 153) on a faked field goal attempt with 3 seconds left in the half, putting them up 21-7 at the half and giving them the only lead they'd need.
Venegoni would connect with Chris Miller (sr. TE 6'3 190) for his second TD pass of the night. Jon Popovitch (sr. FB 5'9 180) & Steve Hironimus (jr. RB 5'10 160) would both add rushing TDs as well.
JC would get it's other score from a 1 yard plunge by McKeon, midway through the 3rd, but failed to get in the redzone again.
JC's woes continued at QB as McKeon would leave the game in the fourth after being laid out on a hit that caused him to fumble and be walked off the field. Sophomore Luke Musselman stepped in to finish the game for the Hilltoppers, who should have their first string QB Brad Bourg back next week for the first round of the playoffs.
by Vincent Johnson
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