CN100 Sports Football Preview: Week 6 - Mount Carmel vs. Brother Rice

Walter Burnett
CN100 Game of the Week: Mount Carmel vs. Brother Rice

IHSA Football Week 6 – Mount Carmel vs. Brother Rice


CHICAGO – Mt. Carmel, led by Illinois’ winningest coach, Frank Lenti, has been the gold standard in not only the Chicago Catholic Blue, but the state of Illinois, for years.


Lenti has 360 wins in 32 seasons, winning 11 of the school’s 12 state titles in his tenure. The Caravan is solid again, despite dropping two close games in a 3-2 start to the season.

"Mt. Carmel is very well-coached and has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball," Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. "We are going to do our best to play Crusader football on Friday night. The team who protects the ball, wins the field position game and is the most disciplined will win."

This Catholic League rivalry can be seen on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25, and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27. You can also watch it anytime in HD with Xfinity On Demand by clicking Get Local and CN100. X1 users, look for Get Local under the Xfinity Services tab.

Brother Rice comes in unbeaten at 5-0 and offers some serious star power, led by Illinois recruit Ricky Smalling at wide receiver. Smalling has 499 yards and seven touchdowns on 22 catches. He’s flanked by fellow senior receiver Branden Houston, who has 16 catches for 279 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Dino Borrelli leads the attack, going 61-of-105 for 1,079 yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s added 87 yards and two scores on the ground. Senior running back Xavian Valladay has picked up 858 yards and nine touchdowns on 91 carries.

Defensively, the Crusaders are solid at every level. Up front, senior tackle Larry Washington has 24 tackles, 17 solo. Senior end Sheldun Benn adds 20 tackles, 18 solo, with three sacks and six tackles for loss. Senior tackle Brendan Allison posted 18 tackles, 14 solo, and seven tackles for loss.

Senior linebacker Brian Olsen leads the team with 28 tackles, 23 solo, 10 tackles for loss and a blocked kick. He’s joined by seniors John Podlasek (18 tackles, 11 solo) and Ryan Smith (22 tackles, 16 solo, four tackles for loss). Senior cornerback Aarion Lacey has four interceptions.

"We are just trying to improve each week," Badke said. "The kids have been working hard and I’m very proud of their effort. We will continue to work on improving in all three phases of the game and hopefully give the kids the best opportunity for them to be successful."

That’s not to say that Mt. Carmel is down by any stretch. The Caravan was 10-3 last year and their only losses this year are to St. Rita (31-28) and unbeaten defending state champion Loyola (35-28), two teams Brother Rice has yet to face.

Junior Alek Thomas does it all for Mt. Carmel, rushing for 265 yards and six touchdowns and going 12-for-18 for 163 yards and two touchdowns in the air. He also leads the team with 11 catches for 169 yards and five touchdowns and racked up 207 kick return yards and 88 punt return yards.

He leads a balanced rushing attack that includes Senior Michael Kennedy and his 248 yards and five rushing touchdowns to go with 65 yards passing and a score through the air. Junior Aristotle Nakos has 238 yards and four touchdowns and senior Jake Moriarty has 175 yards and two scores. Senior quarterback Dan Trudeau is 16-for-30 for 284 yards and six touchdowns, two of which went to senior Phazione McClurge.

Defensively, junior linebacker Darrion Rogers leads the team with 29 tackles. Senior linebacker Noah Swisshelm contributes 25 tackles and junior linebacker Terrance Taylor has 15 tackles, four for loss.

In the secondary, senior safety Macauley Kilbane has 18 tackles and two interceptions and senior corner Jonas Filer registered 16 tackles and two fumble recoveries

- Paul Johnson, CN100 Sports Correspondent


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