Saturday, December 07, 2013
Boys Basketball: Mount Carmel outlasts Brother Rice 63-61
Mount Carmel led from start to finish Friday night against Brother Rice. But it wasn’t a cakewalk. The Crusaders, trailing by 16 points in the third quarter, rallied back and had a chance to win in the final seconds when Quinn Niego fired up a three-point shot with his team down by two. The shot fell short and the host Caravan held on for a 63-61 Catholic League North win. “It looked good going in, and I was praying it wouldn’t go in,” Mount Carmel guard David Nichols said of Niego’s shot. “It would have been devastating if we would have lost.” Nichols finished with 25 points, including 13 in the first half when the Caravan led 33-19. Up 22-15 in the second period, the Caravan (5-1, 1-0) went on a 10-0 run for its biggest lead at 32-15. Montana Byrd had 11 of his 20 points in the first half for the Caravan. Poor free-throw shooting eventually caught up with Mount Carmel. The Caravan was 3-of-16 from the line midway through the fourth. Meanwhile, the Crusaders (2-3, 0-1) rallied with an 11-2 third-quarter-ending run, eventually pulling to within 62-61. That Crusaders stormed back in the absence of Ray Rubio, who fouled out with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left and his team trailing 58-53. Rubio finished with 23 points. Niego added 18, including 12 in the fourth quarter.
Muscle Milk Team of the Week: Mount Carmel Caravan
The Mount Carmel Caravan celebrated their most recent state championship at a pep rally on Wednesday after becoming the first football team in state history to win a title in four different classes (5A-8A). But where does this Caravan team rank in comparison to all the other championship teams? “I knew that [Lake Zurich] had a very good defense, but I felt our defense was a little stouter than theirs,” Lenti said. “I felt that as long as we didn't turn the ball over on their side of the 50 [yard line], they were going to have a tough time scoring. Everybody wants to talk about, 'Is this the best defense we've ever had?' And it might be, but I would have to sit down and reflect on some of the other great defenses we've had. But without a doubt, this one is going to be in the top two or three any way you look at it.” “We're going to celebrate and enjoy it for a while,” Lenti said. “Our next group of kids, they won't do any weightlifting or any offseason stuff until the beginning of February. I'm a big believer in it's better to underdo it than overdo it. We're not a 24/7, 12 month-a-year football program. We never have been. During the season, our kids and players always get at least one day a week off.” Lenti employs a lighter offseason training routine than most high school coaches. It may seem unconventional, but it’s hard to argue with his results. Lenti has guided Mount Carmel to a 339-60 record over a span of 30 years, coaching players like Donovan McNabb, Simeon Rice and Jordan Lynch. “You're not going to win any championships in games one, two or three,” Lenti said. “You win your championships at the back end of the season, not the front end. It's also why we don't put our kids in full equipment during the summer. We don't use the total 25 days. (The IHSA allows teams to hold up to 25 summer practices during the offseason). I want kids fresh and ready to play football when it comes time to be a football player.” Senior offensive lineman Nate Oquendo grew very close to Lenti during his high school football playing days, calling Lenti one of his best friends. “[Coach Lenti’s] legacy is probably going to be one of the best coaches of all time going down in my book,” Oquendo said. “He's done something a lot of people haven't done. He always has us prepared. They're just using this football gig as a tool to prepare us for life. He wants us to grow as men.”
Friday, December 06, 2013
Bowling Green Falcons: QB Matt Johnson Outduels NIU’s Jordan Lynch '09 For Upset Victory
The stage was set in Detroit for the 14th ranked Northern Illinois Huskies to end their regular season with an undefeated record and third-straight MAC championship victory. However, Bowling Green Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson saved his best performance of the season for the Falcons’ last game, as Bowling Green upset the Huskies before a nationally-televised audience on ESPN, 47-27. Entering this game, most of the media attention had surrounded Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, who had amassed 42 total touchdowns (22 passing, 20 rushing) on the year. Lynch was considered a possible “dark horse” candidate for the Heisman Trophy and had led the fourth ranked rushing offense (318.9 yards per game) in the nation. Bowling Green held the football for 34:26 minutes and accumulated 574 total yards for the game. They also picked up their first MAC Championship since 1992 and moved to 10-3 on the season.
NIU's Lynch '09 first MAC finalist for Camp Award
Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch became the first Mid-American Conference player ever to be named a finalist for the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award. The other four finalists for the award announced Thursday are quarterbacks A.J. McCarron of Alabama, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Jameis Winston of Florida State and Boston College running back Andre Williams. Lynch, who starred at Mount Carmel in Chicago, also is a finalist for the Manning Quarterback Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Mount Carmel celebrates 12th state football championship with rally
Sam Connolly didn’t carry the football for Mount Carmel this fall, but on Wednesday he was toting something more important. The honor of bringing the Illinois High School Association Class 7A championship trophy into a pep rally for the program’s newest title team fell to Connolly, a senior linebacker. And he made sure the hardware didn’t fall. “Absolutely not, I would never drop it,” Connolly said. Like most everything else this season, the trophy procession went according to plan for the Caravan, which won its second straight title, 11th in 30 seasons under coach Frank Lenti and 12th overall. Wednesday’s celebration in the school’s Cacciatore Athletic Center was the latest stop on the victory tour for Mount Carmel, which beat Lake Zurich 30-0 in the Class 7A final Saturday in DeKalb. Just four days later, there was a 2013 Class 7A football championship banner hanging above the west bleachers, right between ones for the 2012 8A football champs and the 2013 4A baseball winners. There were speeches, from school president the Rev. Tony Mazurkiewicz (himself a former Caravan football star), principal John Stimler and Lenti. And Patrick McCaskey, a Bears executive, delivered an a capella rewrite of “Bear Down, Chicago Bears,” with new lyrics celebrating the Caravan.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
CN100 Game of the Week: Basketball - Brother Rice vs. Mount Carmel
The CN100 Game of the Week opens up its coverage of the 2013-14 prep basketball season with action featuring the Brother Rice Crusaders and Mount Carmel Caravan. Game time is 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, at Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago. CN100 will playback the game at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, and at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9 and Tuesday, Dec. 10, on The Comcast Network. Visit cn100.tv to find additional air times. You can also watch it anytime with Xfinity On Demand. Stay up to date on all of CN100’s games this season by visiting our website, or follow Game of the Week on Facebook and Twitter to see where our crew will be next. When the games are done, tune into to see the best in Chicagoland prep sports each week with CN100 Sports Weekly. You can also find video clips and highlights with Sports Weekly on YouTube. The CN100 cameras will also be in the stands as Battle of the Fans returns to see which school has the biggest and best student section. Follow Battle of the Fans on Facebook and Twitter for updates on how Chicago area students are showing off their school pride. And, visit the BOTF YouTube page for weekly segments.
Lansing couple still roots for Mount Carmel
DEKALB | Janice and Herb Klingelschmitt had three sons graduate from Mount Carmel, but the Lansing couple didn't stop supporting the Caravan. On Saturday, they were at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb to cheer on the Caravan against Lake Zurich for the Class 7A title game. They and the Mount Carmel faithful were not disappointed as the Caravan won their 12th state title, 30-0. Janice Klingelschmitt had her lucky brown with white leather sleeve jacket, the Caravan's colors. She also had ticket stubs from previous state title games with the Caravan. "This is my lucky jacket, so I had to wear it," Janice said. "The stubs, I just leave in the pockets. I have some more, but I left them in my other coat." Herb wears a light brown Mount Carmel hockey cap, while on Janice's jacket are buttons that say 1988, 1989 and 1990 state champions for football. It also has buttons from the 1987 and 1988 state hockey champions. The Klingelschmitt's sons -- Herb '85, Jim '87 and John '89 -- all graduated from the South Side Catholic school. The elder Herb is a St. Ignatius grad and Janice is a Bowen grad. "We follow all the Mount Carmel sports," Herb said. "Football, hockey, baseball, wrestling, you name it. We love the school, we love the Caravan." The couple said they enjoy the camaraderie that they enjoyed in the 1980s when their sons were students. "We are here in plural as far as Mount Carmel fans," Herb Klingelschmitt said. "Great tradition and great spirit."
Disabato: Mount Carmel finishes as one of the great ones
DEKALB — Flawless. That’s the most accurate way to describe Mount Carmel’s performance Saturday during their Class 7A state championship game against Lake Zurich. The Caravan amassed 279 yards of offense, 248 arriving via a running game that sustained drives and ate valuable clock time. The defense allowed — sit down, folks — 71 total yards and four first downs. Oops. The Caravan did cough up the ball once. So, how can a performance that included a turnover be defined as flawless, you ask? On the ensuing play, the defense provided a safety, turning that little miscue at the Lake Zurich 1-yard line into a score. Mount Carmel resembled Picasso in that it produced a masterpiece that resulted in a 30-0 win and the program’s 12th state championship, 11 of them coming under the guidance of coach Frank Lenti, the state’s all-time winningest coach at 339-60. It was also the Caravan’s second championship in a row, following the 8A title last season. “It’s not about me, it’s about the kids right here,” Lenti said. “It’s not about talent, it’s about team. We may be out-talented from time to time, but we’re going to be prepared and we’re not going to be outworked.” This wasn’t one of the those years Mount Carmel was out-talented. I’ve covered high school football in the Southland for 23 years. I’ve watched multiple local teams hoist the state championship trophy, from Class 4A to Class 8A. Many have registered undefeated seasons, exhibiting a level of dominance resembling a state champion — multiple Mount Carmel and Providence teams, Lincoln-Way prior to producing any offspring and Crete-Monee come to mind. Of course, as the years fly by, the memory begins to fade. But I’m confident when I say the 2013 Mount Carmel defense is the best I’ve ever covered, this team one of the finest. Defenses like this don’t come around often. They had allowed just 96 points all season, posted six shutouts. Twelve of the Caravan’s 14 opponents made the playoffs. Translation: The schedule was void of cream puffs.
Monday, December 02, 2013
Lenti, Proffitt have much in common
DeKALB — When Frank Lenti goes down the list of people he credits for helping him turn Mt. Carmel into one of Illinois' most storied high school football powerhouses, he includes his good friend Dave Proffitt. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, Proffitt was in the health and fitness industry. He sold commercial weights and gym equipment to schools and health clubs. When Lenti was looking to upgrade the facilities at Mt. Carmel in order to take his football program to the next level, he turned to Proffitt. The two had gotten to know each other when Proffitt coached at Gordon Tech and Weber in the 1970s, before he left teaching and coaching for his career in the fitness industry. "We've been friends for more than 30 years, starting when we were both assistant coaches. We go way, way back," Lenti said of Proffitt. "David was selling the Hammer Strength equipment at the time. Through David's help, we ended up refurbishing our weight room at Mt. Carmel. "I would say he's directly responsible for where we are as a program right now, and for our success. He was on the foundation floor of that." That irony isn't lost on Proffitt, whose Bears were dominated by Mt. Carmel in a 30-0 loss at Huskie Stadium. It was Proffitt's first shot as a head coach at a state title.
Neal Sales-Griffin '05 named to Crain's 40 under 40 list
Since Crain's launched its annual 40 Under 40 feature in 1989, nearly 1,000 up-and-coming Chicagoans have earned the title. Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rahm Emanuel, Billy Corgan, Lisa Madigan, Nate Silver, Grant Achatz, Alpana Singh and Mary Zimmerman have shared the glory. Now it's time for another batch of innovators and instigators, entrepreneurs and educators to take center stage. All have reached the top of their fields before reaching their 40th birthday.
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Mt. Carmel shuts out Lake Zurich for Class 7A championship win
DEKALB, Illinois — No matter what Lake Zurich's offense tried, Mount Carmel's defense rarely budged. The Caravan surrendered only 71 yards of total offense, putting together a dominating performance in a 30-0 win over Lake Zurich in Saturday's Illinois Class 7A state championship game. It is the second consecutive state title for the Caravan (13-1), who won the Class 8A title last year. Mount Carmel senior defensive lineman Steve Richardson recorded two sacks, including a third-quarter safety that put the Caravan ahead 23-0. The Bears (12-2) couldn't have started the game much worse, managing only nine total yards in the first quarter, largely due to two turnovers. Mt. Carmel capitalized on the Bears' mistakes, the first of which was a fumbled punt return on its initial drive that the Caravan recovered at the Bears' 6-yard line. Two plays later, running back Matt Domer powered into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown and 7-0 Mt. Carmel lead. After going three-and-out on its second possession, Lake Zurich again fumbled on the first play of its third drive of the game. Mt. Carmel answered with another Domer touchdown on a 2-yard run to go up 14-0 with 1:16 left in the first quarter. "I think that set the tempo for the entire game," Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said of the two forced turnovers. "That's what great teams do. They take advantage of their opportunities."
Mount Carmel Wins 7A State Championship
Defense was expected be the theme of Saturday's Class 7A championship game between Mount Carmel and Lake Zurich. Matt Domer and Mount Carmel's offense crashed the party. Domer, an Illinois recruit, rushed for a game-high 176 yards and two touchdowns to help Mount Carmel to a 30-0 victory at Huskie Stadium. The Caravan, who won Class 8A last season, have 12 titles overall, including 11 under coach Frank Lenti. The program has won state titles in Class 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A. "Every championship is special and we're proud to win consecutive state titles," Lenti said. "We had good senior leadership and we worked really hard all season."
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Boricich connects with Heisman candidate Lynch
DEKALB | Mount Carmel quarterback Marko Boricich knew the call was coming. He already knew Northern Illinois star Jordan Lynch from a Mount Carmel quarterback camp a few years back. Still, to get a call from a Caravan great who also happens to be a Heisman Trophy candidate the night before he was going to play at Huskie Stadium, the arena Lynch has made his personal playground? That about blew Boricich’s mind. “Coach Frank (Lenti) told me Jordan wanted my number,” Boricich said. “It was kind of paranoiac, that Jordan was going to call. And last night at 8, I actually missed his call. I was driving.” The two quarterbacks connected a few minutes later, and Boricich was all ears. “I’m really comfortable with him, and try to pick up something from him every time,” Boricich said. “I got close to him over the last six months, and the big thing to me is how humble a kid he is. He’s in the running for the Heisman Trophy and he’s telling me that I was a better high school quarterback than him already, because he never got downstate. Obviously, that’s a ridiculous comment. He’s Jordan Lynch! But how humble he is is the overlying thing over everything, and it teaches me to be hungry, too.” NCAA rules prevented Lynch from walking the Mount Carmel sideline — he was only allowed on the field for a television interview — but he rooted his old school on from the east grandstand with a sea of brown-clad fans. Northern Illinois freshman running back and Mount Carmel grad Draco Smith was also in the stands.
7A football final | Defense, Domer lift Mount Carmel past Lake Zurich
DeKALB, Ill. — Defense was expected be the theme of Saturday's Class 7A championship game between Mount Carmel and Lake Zurich. Matt Domer and Mount Carmel's offense crashed the party. Domer, an Illinois recruit, rushed for a game-high 176 yards and two touchdowns to help Mount Carmel to a 30-0 victory at Huskie Stadium. The Caravan, who won Class 8A last season, have 12 titles overall, including 11 under coach Frank Lenti. The program has won state titles in Class 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A. "Every championship is special and we're proud to win consecutive state titles," Lenti said. "We had good senior leadership and we worked really hard all season." Lake Zurich hadn't allowed more than 24 points in a game this season. The Caravan's 30 were the most the Bears had given up since Oct. 29, 2011 when they topped Geneva 35-32. Domer scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and the Caravan took advantage of three Lake Zurich turnovers to run away with the victory. "The offensive line stepped up and we knew it was going to be a battle, and we all stepped up," Domer said. "We played grind-it-out, smash-mouth football and we eventually popped a few long ones today." Coming into the game, Lake Zurich (12-2) had allowed 97 points, while Mount Carmel (13-1) allowed 96 this season. Mount Carmel senior quarterback Marko Boricich attempted just four passes but threw two touchdowns, including a picture-perfect, 21-yard toss between three defenders to Christian Searles to pad the lead to 21-0. Bears had 32 yards rushing and 25 yards in the first half. "Their defensive line was firing off the ball, and they're fast," Lake Zurich quarterback Noah Allgood said. Mount Carmel's defense, led by defensive tackles Enoch Smith Jr. and Steve Richardson, gave up just 3 yards on the ground and 11 passing after halftime. "The defensive line was focused on stopping the run and the guys in the back were focused on stopping the pass," Richardson said. "We had a great pass rush and then had great coverage. It was good for us."
Mt. Carmel rolls in 7A state title over Lake Zurich
The Class 7A state title game was business as usual for Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti. Lenti, 339-60 all-time, has now led the Caravan to 11 state titles in 30 years of coaching. Lake Zurich came into the game averaging more than two fumbles per game this season and that would cost them dearly in the state championship. The first two Lake Zurich (12-2) possessions of the game ended in fumbled turnovers, setting up a short field for the Caravan offense on both occasions. Caravan senior running back Matt Domer capitalized on both possessions, rushing for touchdowns and taking his team to a 14-0 lead in the closing minute of the first quarter. After the game, Lenti talked about the Lake Zurich turnovers and how they affected the game early on. "First of all, the kids did a great job because Lake Zurich is a heck of a football team," he said. "Dave Proffit and I have been friends for over 30 years. We were assistants together years ago. So to beat his team that soundly was really a tremendous accomplishment. I think turnovers had a lot to do with that as well. We were good enough to take advantage of that."
Friday, November 29, 2013
Mount Carmel seniors show leadership
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."
Quest for 12: Your Guide to the State Finals
Mount Carmel takes on Lake Zurich at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 30 in the IHSA 7A State Final. Get your game day guide right here, including directions and parking information for Huskie Stadium as well as broadcast information for those tuning in from around the country! Go Caravan! We Are M.C.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Jordan Lynch 09' hopes to crash Heisman party; Huskies to bust BCS
Jim and Sheila Lynch waited patiently at midfield while the accolades were read. Six NCAA records, two more conference marks and 14 NIU records in total (15 counting the career total touchdown mark he’d eclipse on the night). As Jordan Lynch’s name is announced in front of a surprising crowd of 17,679 on a blustery, snow-covered November night, the crowd rises to its feet as the Lynchs embrace. Before the records and the adulation of NIU fans, though, Jim and Sheila remember the skinny kid who used to raid their kitchen after midnight, pounding peanut butter sandwiches like eventual MAC opponents just to gain an extra pound or two. They said he’d never be a D-I quarterback. If he was lucky he’d get a shot at safety, but with each and every bite he’d think, “I’ll show them.” As the clock winds with Jordan Lynch on the sideline in favor of backup quarterback Matt McIntosh, he finishes his career at NIU 11-0 at home, and the Huskies have just won their 23rd consecutive regular season bout. Despite only being a starter for two seasons, he’s established himself as the most decorated player in NIU history, and he’s not quite finished. An invitation to the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation is a realistic possibility. A return trip to the BCS–an unprecedented achievement for a Mid-American Conference school–is within their grasp. To think this was even possible back when he was stumbling through his parents kitchen in search of food would have taken a Picasso-like eye for the abstract. When his head coach in high school, the legendary Frank Lenti of Mount Carmel in Chicago spoke to recruiters about him, everyone loved his athleticism but there was always an added caveat about his size. Big Ten schools came calling with designs of having Lynch walk-on or switch positions, but Lenti was adamant on finding his quarterback a scholarship offer to play QB and he did exactly that at NIU. “Frank Lenti told me, ‘You gotta take him,’” Western Michigan head coach and former NIU recruiting coordinator P.J. Fleck said after Tuesday’s game. “And if Frank Lenti tells someone that you HAVE to take him, then you take him. And that’s what Jerry Kill did. We all kind of looked at the tape and said, ‘He’s an awesome football player.’ But, at the time, if you remember, Jordan wasn’t the most polished passer. “But the minute Frank Lenti said, ‘He’s the toughest football player I’ve ever coached.’ We all kinda threw our hands up and went, ‘I think that decision’s made.’”
Basketball | Mount Carmel (2-1) has big second half
Mount Carmel 59, Notre Dame Niles 42: Senior Guard David Nichols and senior Forward Montana Byrd scored 17 points apiece to lead Mount Carmel. The Caravan trailed 18-6 but tied it at 29 by halftime and had a big second half to lift their record to 2-1. Senior forward Gabe Grant added 14 points for Mount Carmel.
Toner: Turkey Day renews memories of Turkey Bowl
As all eyes in the Mount Carmel High School football universe look to Saturday’s state championship game, the thoughts of this proud Caravan turn to the 2013 Turkey Bowl. The Turkey Bowl is the final team scrimmage between Mount Carmel’s second, third and fourth-string offensive and defensive players and is its own championship in years when the team plays in a state title game. The bowl game concludes a season worth of scrimmages among the reserves that take place during the second half of the last full-contact practice before each regular game. These scrimmages were the only competitive action any of these unheralded substitutes saw all week. They were also something to look forward to, and the only good excuse a fourth-string safety would ever have to talk smack to a fourth-string wide receiver. “Neither of us may be good enough to start, but I’m better than you! Now watch me drop this interception.” In my four years at Mount Carmel, I logged only garbage-time minutes during games. If we were up by 40 points and there was a running clock, that was my time to show the world what 172 pounds of slow, unathletic strong safety could do. (Author’s note: I recovered a fumble in a game when I was a sophomore and forced a fumble on a tackle my junior year, which was mistakenly credited to a teammate. In the interests of accuracy, I just wanted to point that out.) Typically played on Thanksgiving, the Turkey Bowl occurs during the final, full-contact practice of the season — if the team makes it to the state championship. Thanksgiving is a good time to spend with your family, and a high school football team is its own family. There are people you like, there are people you dislike, but they’re your people nonetheless. Over the course of four years of hitting each other, running sprints together and commiserating over aches and pains, you come to view your teammates as brothers. It might be a cliché, but it’s the truth.