Welcome to Catholic Blue Breakdown, a weekly column where I’ll be covering all the action and news in the Chicago Catholic League Blue division.
The Big Story: Providence Catholic 12, St. Rita 7
It was a defensive battle on the South Side of Chicago Friday night between the Mustangs and the Celtics. The game was scoreless deep into the first half, which saw as many punts between the two offenses as first downs.
St. Rita came the closest in the 1st Quarter, at one point with 1st and Goal inside the Providence 5-yard-line. However, the Celtics defense stepped up and stuffed four consecutive Mustang runs as the ball was turned over on downs.
The Mustangs again put themselves in a good position early in the 2rd Quarter, but a big loss on a 3rd down sack followed by a missed field saw another valuable opportunity missed.
They would pay for their mistakes, as it was the Celtics who finally broke the deadlock on a 30-yard jet sweep from sophomore WR Michael Alvarado late in the second quarter.
St. Rita’s inability to take advantage of scoring chances continued in the second half, as they were again stopped inside the 5, this time via a fumble recovered by Providence. The Celtics then put together a 7 play, 96 yard drive that included a 61-yard run for De’Whon Gavin and was finished off with a 29-yard touchdown pass from senior QB Logan Phillips to junior WR Jerrell Wright.
From there, the Providence defense continued to hold strong. All 5 sacks the Celtics recorded came on 3rd or 4th down, consistently stepping up in big moments. They also held St. Rita’s dynamic running back duo of Javon Venson and Tahrhon Haynes to a combined 18 yards on 12 carries.
“We pressured the quarterback, got a lot of sacks and couple of [turnovers],” said Celtics Head Coach Mark Coglianese. “We’re very proud of our defense tonight.”
St. Rita did finally get through Providence’s defense, but it came with only 15 seconds left in the game. An unsuccessful onside kick brought the game to a close.
As for how the Celtics ended up with 12 points from two touchdowns, freshman kicker Jake Andjelic (a great last name for a Catholic school football player) injured his hip flexor before Friday’s game. Coglianese said they’ll be monitoring him this week to determine if he’ll be able to play this coming week against Brother Rice.
That matchup is shaping up as the biggest game of the season so far in the Chicago Catholic League Blue. Both teams enter 4-0 after Rice’s surprise domination of Loyola Academy. Speaking of which…
Elsewhere: Loyola 3, Brother Rice 35
In what may be the surprise of the season so far, Brother Rice blew out Loyola on Friday night. The Crusaders just keep rolling, now with double the wins they had in all of last season.
QB John Bean continued to lead the offense, throwing for 225 yards and a touchdown while running for 55 yards and a second score.
The story of the game, however, was the opposing offense. Loyola turned the ball over 5 times, including four interceptions thrown by QB Matthew Schiltz. The Ramblers were punished consistently for the turnovers, most notably on a 55 yard scoop-and-score following a fumble.
For Loyola, the question is how soon starting QB Jack Fallon will be able to return from his separated shoulder injury. He has missed all four games for the Ramblers this season.
Meanwhile, Brother Rice will look to continue their hot start against the Celtics at Providence on Friday night.
Player of the Week
John Bean (BR): 14-20, 255 yds, 1 TD; 11 carries, 55 yds, 1 TD
Around the League
Montini 56 – St. Joseph 0
Brother Rice 4-0 (1-0)
Providence 4-0 (1-0)
Montini 4-0 (1-0)
Loyola 2-2 (0-1)
St. Rita 1-3 (0-1)
Brother Rice vs. Providence*
St. Rita vs. Montini
Loyola vs. St. Ignatius
*Change of schedule: I had originally planned to attend St. Rita vs. Montini this coming week, but given the 4-0 starts for Providence and Brother Rice I’ll be at that game instead.