Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Game of the Year... 2013 could very well be Mount Carmel at St. Rita on September 27. And I'll be at my niece's wedding in New Jersey! (Annie, how could you?)

The contest -- a blood rivalry, really -- will feature two of the state's best running backs, St. Rita's Tommy Mister (who already has an offer from Notre Dame) and Mount Carmel's Matt Domer (who sounds like he should).

This won't be your first chance to see these two storied programs, of course. You could watch them both play as part of a triple-header at Soldier Field on Labor Day weekend. (De La Salle will be there too. Might be worth your while.)

But by the time these two square off in Week Five, St. Rita could be undefeated, or at least 3-1 (with a possible loss to Marist in the opener). The Caravan, despite a more challenging schedule, could be unbeaten as well. Here are the two teams' schedules leading up to The Big Game (with last year's records in parentheses):

St. Rita (6-6):

Sept. 1 Marist (8-2) @ Soldier Field
Sept. 6 Danville (4-5)
Sept. 13 St. Laurence (1-8)
Sept. 20 @ Hales Franciscan (7-4)

Mount Carmel (13-1):

Sept. 1 St. Patrick (7-4) @ Soldier Field
Sept. 6 Morgan Park (6-5)
Sept. 13 Bishop McNamara (5-4)
Sept. 20 Brother Rice (6-6)

Mr. Mister (I've been waiting to write that), a transfer from Richards (more about them in a future post), will be running behind the blocking of offensive guard Matt Byrne, who has interest from a number of schools. On defense, the Mustangs feature Eddie Randle at defensive end and the heavily -- heavily -- recruited Lamar Dawson at cornerback.

Mount Carmel, coming off (another) state title, is blessed with an abundance of talent as well. The offensive line will be anchored by the much-touted center Nathan Oquendo. And on the other side of the ball, well, the Caravan has to have the best pair of defensive tackles in the state, if not the country. (And I choose my words carefully.) Enoch Smith has committed to Michigan State, while Steven Richardson is headed to Minnesota (brrr!).

Who's going to win this one? Well, last year Carmel shut out the Mustangs, 27-0. But the year before it was St. Rita's turn, as they defeated their South Side rivals, 17-7, en route to a 10-3 finish. In fact, before last season Mount Carmel hadn't beaten St. Rita since 2007.

So, again, who's going to emerge the victor? I don't know; you have two great running backs facing two formidable defenses. That's a tough one. (But I noticed that Mister used to play quarterback at Richards. You don't suppose Mustang Coach Todd Kuska has any trick plays up his sleeve, do you?)

 I guess you'll just have to go there and find out. (The best I can do is follow it on Twitter.)

P. S. In an earlier draft I mentioned quarterback Reece Metcalf of Mount Carmel High School in the town of the same name. My bad!

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