Features | Friday Night Drive

‘Experienced’ Mount Carmel team ready to show off offseason growth

Mount Carmel seniors had a simple motto for the team days after it lost to Brother Rice in the Class 7A quarterfinals last season.

Come together like a fist.

After 18 players made their first career starts and went through growing pains last season, Caravan seniors wanted the team to come together during the offseason as they prepared to use those experiences to compete for a state title.

“They’ve been there, they’ve done it before,” head coach Jordan Lynch said. “When bullets start flying, our guys have been in that position, they’ve learned from their mistakes.”

The Caravan finished 8-4 last season, with losses to St. Ignatius, Loyola and Brother Rice in the regular season. Two of those losses, Brother Rice and Loyola, were within a touchdown.

Mount Carmel seniors set the standard for the offseason in weight room workouts days after the quarterfinal loss. The seniors enforced team rules throughout the offseason, making sure players were accountable to the team and dedicated to the goal of winning a state title.

Lynch has watched how close this season’s team has become. The players not only are close at practice and offseason workouts, but they also hang out with each other during the weekends and involve each other in activities.

“Any good programs that I’ve been around are player-driven teams,” Lynch said. “It usually doesn’t get to the coaches, the players take care of it, that’s what we have here in this group.”

Senior Blainey Dowling will return as the starting quarterback after making his varsity debut with 12 starts last season. He’ll work with experienced wide receivers Denny Furlong, who Lynch considers to be the team’s best route runner, Jimmy Deacy and Jaden Bossie.

The Caravan will also feature junior running back Darrion Dupree, who holds 16 scholarship offers, including seven Power Five offers. The versatile rusher spent the offseason working on his speed and endurance, and has added pass catching to his repertoire.

Dowling feels more connected with his skill players thanks to their time together and the work he put into his offseason. The quarterback worked on his footwork to improve the accuracy of his throws, something he thinks held him back last year.

“The experience part is huge,” Dowling said. “I’m a lot more comfortable now,”

Mount Carmel’s defense will return defensive lineman Asher Tomaszewski and edge rusher Danny Novickas. Tomaszewski holds 12 offers from schools like Toledo, Kent State, Akron and Ohio while Novickas committed to Ohio.

Both seniors were part of a group that learned throughout the year and allowed an average 17.6 points per game with two shutouts. The Caravan learned to focus on the little details in those close losses last year and have applied those lessons into the summer.

“It helped us mature,” Novickas said. “Those bigger games, we felt the pressure. Coming back, we’ll be used to it and ready to go.”

Mount Carmel is looking forward to their season opening stretch where the Caravan will take on St. Rita to open the season on Aug. 26 and then play Phillips the following week. The Caravan have focused their entire summer on learning from their past experiences and coming together as a team.

Now it’s time to reap the benefits of their labor.

“We’re pumped,” Dowling said. “I think if we all keep working like we are, I think we have a really good shot of making it and winning it all.”