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Football: Mount Carmel steamrolls Benet 49-6

Mount Carmel's Matt Domer (4) escapes Benet's Mac Cooney (27). | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times

Mount Carmel's Matt Domer (4) escapes Benet's Mac Cooney (27). | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times

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Updated: December 4, 2013 6:35AM



Mount Carmel has been running the option offense for a long time, but all of a sudden it seems the Caravan has more options than ever.

Marko Boricich, who three nine touchdown passes in the regular season, had three in the first 11/2 quarters Friday night. And Matt Domer, sidelined the past three weeks with a knee injury, returned to run for two more scores.

Then there’s Christian Searles, who scored three touchdowns in a span of less than four minutes of the first quarter.

It all added up to a 49-6 romp past Benet in a Class 7A playoff opener at Gately Stadium. The win earns the Caravan (9-1) a rematch with South Side rival St. Rita (9-1) in the second round. Mount Carmel, which hasn’t played the Mustangs in the state playoffs since 2005, handed St. Rita its only regular-season loss, 24-3.

Boricich and Searles got things started with a 17-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-4 with 5:59 left in the first quarter. Three plays later, Searles picked off a pass by Benet’s Jack Beneventi (12-of-20, 126 yards, 1 interception) and ran it back 30 yards for a score.

Another Benet turnover (a lost fumble) was followed by Boricich’s 37-yard TD pass to Searles. Just like that, it was 21-0.

“The touchdowns don’t come too often for me so they’re all great,” Searles said. “But the pick-six was my best because they threw a hitch a couple of plays before and I was like I can’t give up another hitch.”

Benet (6-4), which lost its last four games after a 6-0 start that included a season-ending injury to two-way standout Porter Ontko, struggled to run the ball all night and couldn’t get back in the game with a one-dimensional offense.

“They’re a good team,” Searles said. “But we started out fast. It really killed their momentum. We didn’t let them hang around.”

“Mount Carmel did a great job,” Beneventi said. “They show cover-2 (defense) and switch to cover-3, drop the (linebackers into coverage)or blitz them. Corners, they would show them coming up or down. Really, they showed a lot.”

On offense, the Caravan had been showing mostly the running of Jimmy Mickens lately. He had 75 yards on 12 carries Friday, but Domer’s return provided another runner for the Redwings to keep track of and the Illinois recruit took advantage.

His 26-yard touchdown run made it 28-0 with 1:07 left in the first quarter and his 6-yard scoring carry pushed the lead to 35-0 at 9:28 of the second.

“You just don’t replace a guy like Matt Domer,” Caravan coach Frank Lenti said. “He actually could have played the last couple of weeks. But we just thought we’d let him stay healthy.”

“I was really eager to get back on the field with my team,” Domer said.

He was equally excited to see Boricich’s big night, which was capped by a 1-yard scoring throw to Brendan Griffin midway through the second quarter.

“Now people can’t play us like a one-dimensional team,” Domer said. “Now we have more threats. People have to play us honest.”

Benet broke up Mount Carmel’s shutout bid on Brad Sznajder’s 47-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Boricich added a two-yard TD run for the final margin.



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