Mount Carmel gets revenge against Brother Rice, advances to Class 7A semifinals

Mount Carmel quarterback Blainey Dowling threw five touchdowns in his team's 48-12 Class 7A quarterfinal win over Brother Rice on Saturday.

CHICAGO — Mount Carmel waited for Saturday for an entire year.

The Caravan longed for an opportunity to get revenge on Brother Rice after the Crusaders eliminated the Caravan in last season’s Class 7A quarterfinals. Mount Carmel beat Brother Rice during the regular season, but when Saturday’s quarterfinal game between the CCL/ESCC Blue rivals was set, the Caravan wanted more.

Blainey Dowling threw five touchdown passes in the first half and the Mount Carmel defense didn’t let Brother Rice get anything going in the Caravan’s 48-12 win.

“We’ve been waiting for this,” Dowling said. “It was marked all year. We beat them earlier but we wanted to beat them again in the playoffs.”

Both teams went three-and-out on their first possessions but Mount Carmel (12-0) set the tone for the game when Dowling found Damarion Arrington streaking down the middle of the field for 64 yards to give the Caravan a 7-0 lead with 9:12 left in the first quarter.

Brother Rice stopped Mount Carmel on the Crusaders’ 1 on fourth down on its next drive, but the Caravan drove down the field again, scoring on a 3-yard pass from Dowling to Danyil Taylor Jr. to make it a 14-0 lead with 11:15 in the second quarter.

Dowling completed a 43-yard pass to Denny Furlong to make it 20-0 with 6:22 left in the second quarter and Dowling hit Furlong again with 4:04 left in the second quarter, this time for a 16-yard pass. The senior threw his fifth touchdown of the day to Jaden Bossie on a 20-yard pass to make it 40-0 with 38 seconds left in the second quarter.

Dowling completed 14 of his 27 attempts for 279 yards, five touchdowns and an interception while adding 35 on the ground, all of his yards coming in the first half. Backup quarterback Jack Elliott added a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Furlong finished the day with 106 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Mount Carmel was still trying to figure out how to run its offense with starting running back Darrion Dupree out with an injury.

“We found our rhythm,” Mount Carmel coach Jordan Lynch said. “We’ve got guys all over the field.”

Brother Rice’s (7-5) 12 points all came in the second half after Mount Carmel took out its starters. Marcus Brown completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to Mike Bos in the third and Brown hit Bos again for a 10-yard touchdown in the fourth. Brown completed six of his 15 pass attempts for 136 yards while Ryan Hartz completed four of his 10 pass attempts for 70 yards.

The Crusaders struggled to move the ball much in the first half, turning the ball over and going three-and-out.

“The defense is mean, I’ve been saying it all year,” Dowling said. “Those guys quit after two drives, you could tell by their eyes. The defense helps the offense out by giving us chances to get out.”

Brother Rice’s offensive struggles had been something coach Casey Quedenfeld had tried to fix for much of the season. In the biggest game, the Crusaders couldn’t figure it out.

“There’s no excuses, we’re just not consistent on that side of the football,” Quedenfeld said. “On defense, which we’ve been really good at all year long, I don’t know what was in the pregame meal, but we couldn’t cover anything.”

Mount Carmel will take on St. Rita (10-2) in the 7A semifinals after the Mustangs beat St. Charles North, 28-7, on Saturday. The Caravan defeated the Mustangs 35-3 to start the season but they know that the St. Rita team they beat is different from the team they’ll see in the semifinals.

“We beat them up pretty good, but I’ve seen it, they’re a better team,” Dowling said. “We’re not going to take them lightly, I’ll tell you that.”