Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Game of the Week...

...will surely be (everyone's No. 1) Loyola at Mount Carmel.

The South Siders -- No. 2 in the Sun-Times, No. 4 in the Tribune and No. 31 in MaxPreps (thirty-one?) -- are, like Loyola, undefeated at 2-0. (Could 1-1 Montini, ranked No. 19 by MaxPreps, really beat the Woodlawn Eleven? We'll find out in Week Eight.)

Here's their schedule so far (home team in CAPS):

Mount Carmel 49, Taft 7 (at Soldier Field)
Mound Carmel 56, GARY WEST SIDE (IN) 6

But, as a Carmel coach told me at the Loyola game (they all came in just before the kickoff and sat in front of me), the Caravan really hasn't played anyone yet.

How about the Ramblers?

Loyola 36, MARQUETTE (WI) 7
LOYOLA 44, Maine South 43

Beth Long of the Sun-Times has this tilt at the top of her list of "Week 3′s top five games," and I think that would be hard to argue with. (Although I can think of at least three other first-rate contests this weekend.)

I can't really improve on Ms. Long's thumbnail sketch except to add the results of the series for the last ten years:

2015: LOYOLA 49, Mount Carmel 21
2014: MOUNT CARMEL 10, Loyola 7
2013: LOYOLA 24, Mount Carmel 17
2012: Loyola 30, MOUNT CARMEL 27
2011: LOYOLA 12, Mount Carmel 7
2010: Mount Carmel 31, LOYOLA 24
2009: Loyola 28, MOUNT CARMEL 15
            Loyola 24, MOUNT CARMEL 7 (playoff)
2008: MOUNT CARMEL 35, Loyola 14
2007: Mount Carmel 31, LOYOLA 24
2006: MOUNT CARMEL 32, Loyola 14

See a pattern? Me neither.

I saw Loyola play on Saturday and they didn't seem as strong to me as last year's squad. (Although, in fairness, the 2015 8A champion was probably the best Rambler team ever.) Loyola's defense needs work, to be sure, but their offense is explosive.

Mount Carmel? Who knows? I last saw them play in November against Glenbard West, in which they were shut out, 7-0. Is this year's team better, or worse? Frank Lenti wasn't saying on Saturday.

In any event, if this isn't the "game of the season," as Ms. Long opines, it should certainly be worth the drive down to Gately. See you there!

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