CN100 Sports Football Preview: Week 8 - Mount Carmel vs. Montini

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CN100 Game of the Week: Mount Carmel vs. Montini

IHSA Football Week 8 – Mount Carmel vs. Montini

LOMBARD – Mt. Carmel and Montini are two of the premier programs in Illinois, but each storied team is facing a crossroads heading into their Week 8 matchup.

Both teams enter Friday’s game at 4-3 and fighting for their playoff lives in a game that can be seen on CN100, The Comcast Network, at Noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, and 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 17. 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.

Montini (4-3, 2-1 Chicago Catholic Green) has suffered through a rash of key injuries in its attempt to repeat as Class 6A state champions.

It started in Week 1, when running back Prince Walker, a Western Michigan commit, went down. Recently, his replacement, senior Will Smith Jr., was hit by the injury bug which forced leading tackler Jake Karczewski to flip sides and start at running back.

"We have played a tough schedule and lost some key players to injury, so this has been a challenging season," Montini coach Chris Andriano said. "We have improved because we are getting comfortable with our players who have stepped up and they are getting better week-to-week. This game is about finding out how far we have come with some of our backups."

Montini employs two quarterbacks, juniors Matt Morrissey and Nick Orlando. Morrissey is more of a passing threat, going 38-for-62 for 518 yards, five touchdowns and an interception. Orlando has rushed for 233 yards and three scores on 29 carries, and he’s gone 6-for-7 for 50 yards and a touchdown through the air.

With Smith’s 537 yards and nine touchdowns on the shelf, Karczewski registered 127 yards and a touchdown in limited duty. He’s also the team’s leading tackler at linebacker with 58 tackles, 34 solo and four for loss.

The Broncos spread it around in the passing game. Senior receivers Tommy Morrissey (10 catches, 123 yards), Brandon Shilgalis (10 catches, 160 yards, three touchdowns) and Mitch West (11 catches, 106 yards, one touchdown) and junior Matt Quaglia (eight catches, 118 yards, two touchdowns) have all contributed.

The Broncos are solid at linebacker, even with Karczewski spending time on offense. Senior Nick Foster (40 tackles, three sacks), junior Jalen Slater (32 tackles, four sacks) and sophomore Jackson Bruscianelli (37 tackles) pick up the slack.

It’s been a struggle for Mt. Carmel (4-3, 0-3 Chicago Catholic Blue), and the Caravan needs to win either this week or in Week 9 against Providence to reach the playoffs for the 31st straight time.

Junior Alek Thomas has taken the reigns at quarterback and thrived with 434 yards and eight touchdowns on 49 carries, while also throwing for 407 yards and five touchdowns and catching 11 passes for 169 yards and five touchdowns. He’s even racked up 311 kick and punt return yards.

Senior running back Michael Kennedy (450 yards, seven touchdowns), junior Aristotle Nakos (296 yards, five touchdowns) and senior Jake Moriarty (219 yards, four touchdowns) carry the load.

Senior receiver Jordan Cousert has broken out with 16 catches for 340 yards and six touchdowns. Senior Phazione McClurge is also a weapon with 11 catches for 279 yards and four scores.

"Anytime you play Mt. Carmel you can expect a hard-hitting, physical football game," Andriano said. "They are always prepared. You have to play four quarters against them with very few mistakes."

- Paul Johnson, CN100 Sports Correspondent


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