Enthusiastic Mount Carmel cruises past Simeon
By Mike Clark email@example.com November 2, 2012 10:58PM
Mount Carmel quarterback Don Butkus escapes Simeon defenders Pierre Leonard (87) and Karlin Entoe. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:34AM
Even if the results were there for Mount Carmel the past two weeks, something clearly was missing.
Though the Caravan was getting healthier with the return of mainstays such as linebacker D.J. Romero and more diverse with the emergence of Vince Speller on offense, the formula wasn’t complete.
“We thought our enthusiasm in the Providence game and the Brother Rice game, it seemed a little down compared to what it’s been in the past,” quarterback Don Butkus said. “That’s what we tried to emphasize, playing with enthusiasm, playing Mount Carmel football. Being fast, energetic. Getting to the ball. I thought (the defense) really accomplished that.”
The numbers proved it. The Caravan didn’t give up a play for positive yardage till early in the second quarter, when it was up by four touchdowns and well on the way to a 41-6 win over Simeon in Class 8A second-round action Friday night at Gately Stadium.
Butkus threw two touchdown passes to Speller and ran for another score for Mount Carmel (10-1), which goes on the road next weekend to play the winner of Saturday’s Lyons-O’Fallon game. Simeon (8-2), which had won eight straight since an opening loss to Loyola, drops back into the Prep Bowl playoffs.
The tone for this game was set early by Mount Carmel on both offense and defense.
Butkus raced 79 yards down the left sideline on the second play from scrimmage to set up his 2-yard touchdown run on the next play.
“Our dive fake ... sold it,” Butkus said of the long run. “Their safety ended up flying all the way up to the line of scrimmage. I tried to take advantage of it.”
After Simeon went three-and-out, Mount Carmel again needed just three plays to score, this time on a 19-yard run up the middle by Draco Smith (10 carries, 66 yards).
Speller picked off Simeon quarterback Elcee Burke (6-of-12, 70 yards) on the next play from scrimmage and eight plays after that Matt Domer (5 carries, 58 yards) went 15 yards for a 21-0 Caravan lead with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
“We talked to the kids about setting the tempo in the first five minutes of the game,” Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said. “The last two weeks offensively and defensively, we started kind of slow and that hasn’t been us this year. Our trademark has been starting the game fast. The kids did a better job of that tonight.”
Butkus (7 carries, 82 yards; 57 yards passing) hit Speller with scoring passes of 16 and 30 yards in the second quarter, sandwiched around a 12-yard TD run by Domer. It was 41-0 at halftime and the only score of the second half was Darnell Cockrell’s late touchdown run for Simeon.
Using Speller as another passing target will make game-planning tougher for future opponents.
“Vince is a hell of an athlete, a big body,” Butkus said. “We just try to put him where he’s going to be able to make plays. A lot of guys are starting to key on Jason (Gasser, Mount Carmel’s leading receiver). ... Being able to hit Vince with two touchdown passes hopefully will open things up for us.”
Speller, who’s committed to Eastern Illinois as a cornerback, was glad to help out however he could.
“We knew Simeon was going to come out and punch us in the mouth,” he said. “We had to throw the first punch.”