Tony Livermore saw the Mt. Carmel offense start to come together.
There was an impressive play here, a prolonged drive there, but for the most part, the Caravan still hadn’t clicked on all cylinders.
But, up a touchdown against Montini at halftime, the Mt. Carmel offense was determined to put it all together and make a statement.
Manufacturing two lengthy drives that produced points to start the second half, Mt. Carmel put Montini away for good on Sept. 13 for a 27-20 victory in a Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference crossover.
“Those drives were exactly what we were looking for,” Livermore said. “We want to keep the ball in the offense’s hands as long as we can and give the defense a break. Our offense started clicking. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we looked good.”
Livermore (Christ the King) finished with 7 catches for 101 yards and a TD, showing off his strong connection with junior QB Justin Lynch (St. Christina).
The duo put their chemistry to good use on a 27-yard TD strike to cap the Caravan’s first drive of the second half. Wide open across the middle behind the defense, Livermore reeled in Lynch’s throw.
The score put Mt. Carmel up 21-7 with 7:32 left in the third.
“The whole game, [their corners] were buzzing on our motion. We did a motion play, a fake throw, and it left the middle of the field wide open for me,” Livermore said. “It’s like waking up on Christmas morning when you’re that open. You see that, and I’m thinking ‘Get me the ball and get me in the end zone.’”
The Caravan drove 80 yards on 11 plays in 4:28 on the first drive of the half.
After Montini responded with a touchdown, Lynch and the offense answered. The junior signal-caller powered a 13-play, 65-yard drive that wiped 6:15 off the clock.
The drive stalled in the red zone, but junior kicker Julian Patino nailed a 27-yard field goal. He added a 37-yarder in the fourth to extend the lead to 27-14.
In his first season starting, Lynch is always looking to improve.
“These first couple games, we’re trying to find our identity on offense,” Lynch said. “I’m getting comfortable running the offense. When I’ve got playmakers making plays, my job is easy. It’s an exciting offense.”
Lynch finished 14 for 21 in passing for 159 yards and 2 TD. He added 106 rushing yards and a TD, a 5-yard score on a keeper in the second quarter.
“We prepped well throughout the week and were able to get it done,” Lynch said. “I love throwing to Tony. It’s working on those routes in practice. He’s my main target, and he makes plays.”
On the other side of the ball, the Caravan defense gave up some yardage but slowed down a Broncos offense that came in averaging 35 points.
Montini QB Deontay Bell threw for 127 yards and a TD on 7-for-21 passing. He also rushed for 150 yards and a score.
Mt. Carmel senior Marty O’Brien said the Caravan was ready with a game plan.
“They’re a pretty run-heavy team, so we prepped for the run,” O’Brien said. “We forced them to do something they didn’t want to and that’s throw. We forced them to pass. We let up some big plays, but we never folded. We stayed tight as a team.”
O’Brien (Christ the King) broke up a potential TD throw in the end zone late in the fourth quarter, deflecting a pass intended for Nate Muersch, a Miami of Ohio recruit.
“I was lining up against him and saw him go out right away,” O’Brien said. “I tried to get my hand in there. We’re playing fast. We bend, but we don’t break. We’re staying together as a team.”
O’Brien finished with 2 pass break-ups. Jason Thompson and Odeluga added 6 tackles each. Tommy O’Sullivan added a fumble recovery.
Mt. Carmel improved to 3-0, and Montini dropped to 2-1.
The Caravan will host Loyola Academy in Week 4.