Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The last time Mount Carmel...

...played a team from the West Suburban Silver was in 2013, when they defeated Downers Grove North, 7-0, in the quarterfinals.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After Glenbard West's 7-3 loss last year in the semifinals against eventual 8A champion Stevenson (in which they were leading up until the very last minute), I thought to myself, Yeah, these guys can play with anyone. (Before that I wasn't sure.)

So you can just imagine what I've been thinking all this year: Sure, Homewood-Flossmoor is great, but I can't wait to see Glenbard West play Loyola in the postseason. I've seen both teams many times over the years, but as far as I know, they've never faced each other.

And then the pairings came out and the Hilltoppers were back in 7A. Darn!

So my dream matchup won't take place this year. What am I to do (while waiting for that H-F - Loyola showdown next week)? I'm afraid the next best thing will be No. 16-seed Mount Carmel (8-2) at No. 1 Glenbard West (10-0) this Saturday.

While I scoffed at all the hype from the Chicago papers about that first-round tilt between the Caravan and Glenbard North, I have to say I was taken back by the lopsided 42-15 score. Whoa. Suddenly I find myself in agreement with Mike Helfgot of the Tribune:

Mount Carmel at Glenbard West is the premier matchup of the second round.

It's my Game of the Week.

The only question is, what if I can't get a ticket to tiny Duchon Field in Glen Ellyn this Saturday? (Don't worry; I thought of that. Check back tomorrow for my backup plan.)

What is there to say about this game? Normally, I'd look at their common opponents to see if I can find a pattern. Here are the two schools' 2015 schedules (with home team in CAPS):

MOUNT CARMEL 21, Marist 14
MOUNT CARMEL 48, Morgan Park 0
MOUNT CARMEL 13, Providence 0
MOUNT CARMEL 35, St. Rita 14
Mount Carmel 63 DE LA SALLE 0
BROTHER RICE 31, Mount Carmel 14
MOUNT CARMEL 1, Hales Franciscan 0 (forfeit)
LOYOLA 49, Mount Carmel 21
MOUNT CARMEL 42, Glenbard North 15

GLENBARD WEST 28, Bolingbrook 7
GLENBARD WEST 50, Hinsdale South 31
Glenbard West 41 DOWNERS GROVE NORTH 0
Glenbard West 35, LYONS 0
GLENBARD WEST 35, Hinsdale Central 24
Glenbard West 34, OAK PARK RIVER FOREST 7
GLENBARD WEST 42, Proviso West 0
Glenbard West 48, ADDISON TRAIL 28
GLENBARD WEST 49, Moline 10

Okay, that wasn't much help, was it? Next, I like to see how the programs have performed against each other in the past. But according to Mr. Helfgot's piece in the Trib (my emphasis):

Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said last week that he was excited about the prospect of potentially playing the legendary Caravan for the first time. 

Really? The first time? Mount Carmel has been around since 1900 and Glenbard West since 1922! And in all that time they've never met on the gridiron? Remarkable.

Hmm. So now what? I've got it! How have the two teams fared over the years against opponents from each other's conference?

Oops! As far as I can tell, Glenbard West hasn't played a school from the Catholic League Blue in at least ten years (if ever). The closest I can come is a 56-14 home victory over Fenwick in 2008. (The Friars were in the Catholic League White at the time.)

(Before I get to Mount Carmel, a small digression. Speaking of Fenwick, Glenbard West coach Bill Duchon, for whom the stadium is named, played for legendary Friars coach Tony Lawless in the 1940s. Duchon was 9-0 in 1968, 10-1 in 1975 and finished second in the state in 1976 with his final team. In his last 11 years, Duchon didn't field a losing team.)

Now, about the Caravan. Besides that Downers Grove North game in 2013 and a 48-7 win over Leyden, from the West Suburban Gold, in 2007, there isn't a whole lot to go on:

2012: Mount Carmel 45, LYONS 10
2010: Mount Carmel 41, Lyons 10
2008: HINSDALE CENTRAL 24, Mount Carmel 21
2006: MOUNT CARMEL 24, Downers Grove North 7

So what's going to happen on Saturday in Glen Ellyn? Well, first of all, by hook or by crook, I'm going to get a ticket to that game. As for the outcome? I'll say the Hilltoppers take 'em in a hard-fought contest reminiscent of last year's against Stevenson. I have to think the Hitters are headed for a date with Libertyville in DeKalb this year.

As always, I'll be live-tweeting the game @BoringOldWhtGuy.

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