Mt. Carmel Caravans fall short against St. Rita

Mt. Carmel High School player Alex Thomas (#27 holding the football) runs for valuable yards, Friday, Sept. 23, during the “Great American Rivalry” game against St. Rita High School at Gately Stadium, 810 E. 103rd St.-Owen M. Lawson III
Mt. Carmel High School player Alex Thomas (#27 holding the football) runs for valuable yards, Friday, Sept. 23, during the “Great American Rivalry” game against St. Rita High School at Gately Stadium, 810 E. 103rd St.-Owen M. Lawson III

By Joseph Phillips 
Sports Writer 

Thanks to a last second field goal by sophomore kicker Gavin Mottl of Saint (St.) Rita High School, the Mount (Mt.) Carmel Caravans would fall short in a 31-28 losing effort on Friday night in front of a packed house at Gately Stadium.

“I was thinking that I was practicing kicks with my coach,” said Mottl, after nailing the game winning kick with 0.6 seconds left to play in regulation. “I blocked out the noise of the crowd. Had no doubt I was going to make the kick.”

In the first half, the Caravans would fumble on their first play from scrimmage as St. Rita’s Anthony Jones would recover the ball and return it 37 yards for a touchdown, giving the Mustangs a 7-0 lead with 10:33 remaining in the quarter. A few possessions later, the Caravans would counter with a touchdown (TD) of their own, scoring on a 17 yard run by Quarterback Dan Trudeau, tying the game at 7-7 with 8:35 to play in the quarter. After two additional scores, both teams would finish the half tied at 14.

“We had a guy right there on the reverse and we missed him,” Mt. Carmel Coach Frank Lenti said. “We missed opportunities and they didn’t. Give them credit.”

In the second half, Lenti explained that the biggest play might have come on a fourth-and-4 on the Caravan’s 33. As St. Rita’s QB Jake Zylman would call a high risk double reverse play, gaining 5 yards within the process while giving the Mustangs great field position and setting up kicker Mottl for a game winning 34 yard field goal with 0.6 seconds left to play in regulation.

Final Score: St. Rita 31, Mt. Carmel 28

With the loss, the Caravans fall to 0-2 in conference play, giving them a 3-2 record overall while possibly dropping them in the Illinois High School Sports Association Football rankings. In addition to Friday’s game, the Caravans would celebrate Senior Night, as both teams would play for bragging rights in the Great American Rivals Game of The Week sponsored by the United States Army.