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Brother Rice unable to overcome early setbacks

A mob Brother Rice players tackle Simeon's Darnell Cockrell (8) during Prep Bowl Soldier Field Chicago Ill. Thursday November 22

A mob of Brother Rice players tackle Simeon's Darnell Cockrell (8) during the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. on Thursday, November 22, 2012. | Jon Durr~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 26, 2012 9:38AM



The ferocious wind swirling inside Soldier Field played havoc all afternoon at the Prep Bowl on Friday.

It hurt Brother Rice in the worst way imaginable. Needing a 2-point conversion, the Crusaders designed a beautiful play in the Wildcat formation, only to watch sophomore Alex Alarcon’s pass to Luke Mueller get caught in the air, giving Simeon defensive back Kalynn Johnson enough time to break up the play.

The pass fell to the ground and Brother Rice watched its Prep Bowl dreams vanish in the Wolverines’ 14-12 overtime win.

Simeon had the first chance in overtime and scored on fourth-and-inches on Elcee Burke’s quarterback sneak. Darnell Cockrell added the 2-point conversion.

Crusaders quarterback Matt Page broke around left end and bulldozed in from five yards on third down to pull Brother Rice (7-6) to within two in the extra session.

On the 2-point attempt, Page went in motion and Alarcon took the direct snap. He made a move toward the line of scrimmage and then made a jump pass to Mueller.

Mueller was open but the ball hung in the air too long.

For Brother Rice, the story of the game was its failure at the start of the game, not the end. The Crusaders recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff, and they started six of their eight first-half possessions in Simeon territory.

Brother Rice managed only one score, Page’s 16-yard pass to running back Marcus Jones.

“The offensive line gave Matt time to throw, Matt got me the ball and I was able to get into the seam,” said Jones, a sophomore who was named Brother Rice’s game MVP.

His score with four seconds to play in the second quarter put the Crusaders up 6-0 at the break.

But the squandered chances came back to haunt the Crusaders, who could not hold the lead.

“We had to take more advantage of our opportunities early in the game,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said, “especially in that first quarter.

“You have to credit Simeon a lot for the way we played. They were big and athletic and they gave us a lot of problems, especially defensively. They made it very difficult for us to really move the ball.”

Brother Rice could not generate any consistent offensive production. Simeon safety Jabaree Winston, the Wolverines’ game MVP, intercepted Page three times, twice in the second half.

Brother Rice managed just two first downs in the second half and turned the ball over twice. The Crusaders defense kept Rice in the game with a goal-line stand and Tim Barry’s block on a 23-yard field-goal attempt.

“Defensively, we got tired at the end,” Badke said. “Still, I was very proud of our seniors and how they played today. This was our first year in a new system, a new staff, and I don’t think anybody expected us to be in this game. We played 13 games and we’ll build on that.”



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