CCL/ESCC notes: Brandon Svets, Loyola defense bottling up opponents

QB Justin Lynch helps Mount Carmel rebound; Jamari Grant powers Marist

Nearly every time the quarterback went down, Loyola defensive end Brandon Svets had his hands on the quarterback.

The Ramblers defensive line was relentless in a 28-7 win over Brother Rice on Thursday.

Loyola sacked Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch four times in the first half. Whether he was completing a sack or just making life hard for Lausch, Svets was in on nearly all of them.

“It was great,” Svets said. “I don’t think I had any of my own sacks. We’ve all been working hard, it’s nice to see it all pay off.”

At 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Svets is quite noticeable on that Loyola defensive line. In a lineup full of big fellas, Svets stands an inch or two above the rest. The Ramblers have been particularly difficult to run against in two of their three games this season.

St. Rita couldn’t get anything going on the ground against Loyola in Week 1. Loyola had three sacks in that game. A week later, Mount Carmel found modest success – quarterback Justin Lynch and running back Kenenna Odeluga combined for 151 yards. But Loyola stood tall on a goal-line stand late in the game. On first-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Mount Carmel failed to punch it in and wound up missing a field goal. It was a crucial empty possession.

In Week 3, Brother Rice totaled 120 yards on the ground against the Ramblers, but 50 came on one long run from Lausch. Otherwise it was a struggle all game long.

“I think we’ve been clicking the whole year,” Svets said. “We only allowed seven points, so it was a great team win.”

Svets is committed to play at Harvard. He had several FBS Division I offers, but opted for the Ivy League instead.

“Svets came out to be the real deal,” Loyola coach John Holecek said after Thursday’s game. “You can see him being a monster at the next level.”

It’s a shame this Ramblers team doesn’t get a postseason because a deep run would’ve seemed likely. With 15 returning starters, Loyola is experienced. It’s playing without injured offensive lineman Josh Kreutz, an Illinois commit. Holecek said in a normal postseason, if Kreutz were healthy as well, this Loyola team would be special.

“I don’t know how anybody could stop us,” Holecek said. “I think that’s the type of experience and poise these guys have, especially defensively.”

‘A good, catchable ball’: After a loss to Loyola a week earlier, Mount Carmel knew it needed to rebound Saturday against Marist. Many of the Caravan players had never lost a varsity game after a 14-0 season in 2019.

“Loyola’s a great team and they had us last week,” Mount Carmel receiver Jack Butcher said. “We just knew we had something to prove this week. We had a great week of practice and it showed.”

Mount Carmel looked like a different team in Week 3. The passing attack was clicking on all cylinders. Butcher stole the show with three touchdowns in a 24-21 win over Marist.

The Caravan passing game had been out of whack against Loyola. Quarterback Justin Lynch completed 8-of-17 passes for 124 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown. Against Marist, Mount Carmel kept it simple and worked its way down the field with relatively short passes. Lynch let his receivers, like Butcher, do the work.

“It’s crazy, a good, catchable ball, what it does,” head coach Jordan Lynch said.

Justin Lynch, a Temple commit, kept feeding Butcher. Lynch completed 19 passes in the game and 10 of them went to Butcher. He said there’s no such thing as a 50-50 ball when he’s throwing to the 6-foot-5 receiver.

“I think it’s like 99-1 with him when you’ve got someone one-on-one with him,” Justin Lynch said.

Justin Lynch did enough to impress the opposing coach, too. Marist head coach Ron Dawczak said he was “really impressed” watching Lynch on film during the week and watching him perform Saturday.

Marist’s workhorse: Marist put up a fight in Saturday’s loss to Mount Carmel, but ran out of time. Running back Jamari Grant has been impressive over the first few weeks of the season. Grant scored the game-winning 53-yard touchdown in a win over Brother Rice in Week 2.

On Saturday, Grant carried the ball 25 times for 79 yards. He scored two touchdowns, both coming late in the game. A senior, Grant has waited for his turn. In 2019, he spent most of his time on the scout team, handling only 17 carries during varsity action in 2019.

“I just love his attitude,” Dawczak said of the 5-foot-10, 165-pound running back. “He’s super positive. His toughness makes him a special back. He doesn’t weigh a ton, but he runs like he’s a 200-pound running back – his leg drive and he’s got quickness and speed. He really is coming into his own this season at running back.”

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.