When it comes to trusting his wide receivers on a 50-50 ball, Mt. Carmel quarterback Justin Lynch is perfectly confident in senior Jack Butcher.
Lynch knows that if the ball is anywhere within his reach, Butcher will go up and get it.
In fact, it’s a done deal. It’s a catch for sure. Book it. It’s no 50-50.
“It’s like 99 to 1 with him,” Lynch said with a laugh. “We’ve got a 6’5” wide receiver; so 1-on-1 I can throw him the ball, and he’ll go make a play. That’s it. I love ‘J Butch.’”
Pulling in 3 touchdowns, Butcher was a force for the host Caravan on April 3 in an exciting 24-21 victory over Marist in a Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference (CCL/ESCC)-Blue showdown.
He amassed 10 catches for 152 yards and 3 TD, including a 10-yard strike in the fourth that put Mt. Carmel (2-1, 1-1) up 24-14 with 7:38 left in the game.
Butcher knew he needed to have a big day with the Caravan wide receiving corps somewhat thin due to injuries. The Caravan’s leading receiver, Jaali Parker, and several others did not play.
“We had a couple guys banged up and not playing, so I had to step up and play my role today,” Butcher said. “On those 50-50 balls, I always say it’s my ball. I want to come down with it every time, no matter the coverage.”
Butcher said the total catches and 3 touchdowns were career highs.
All 3 touchdowns came on Lynch throws into the end zone that Butcher was able to snatch up. The third TD had Butcher skying over his defender to catch the ball. He also had a 24-yard reception on third down late in the fourth to help close out the game.
Butcher said the comfort level with Lynch comes from long hours of practice.
“We work hard in practice, and we rep everything a million times in practice,” Butcher said. “We make sure we’ve got things down to perfect execution. That showed today.”
Lynch (Mt. Greenwood, St. Christina) finished 18 of 26 for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns. The 6’1” senior is a Temple recruit.
Butcher also played big minutes on the other side of the ball at cornerback.
Mt. Carmel Coach Jordan Lynch loved the effort both ways from Butcher.
“Man, have yourself a day. It’s crazy what a good catchable ball does,” Coach Lynch said. “He played a great game, and it wasn’t even the touchdowns. It was great catches all around. His confidence goes up, and he’s making plays at corner too with some swagger.”
Butcher is a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse recruit.
Senior running back/linebacker Kenenna Odeluga, an Illinois recruit, finished with 14 carries for 64 rushing yards. Justin Lynch rushed for 35 yards.
Senior Julian Patino also connected on a 27-yard field goal to close out the first half and put Mt. Carmel up 10-6.
On defense, Odeluga added 13 tackles and 2 tackles for losses to pace the Caravan defense with Asher Tomaszewski (12 tackles, 2 TFL), Austin Maciel-Haygood (5 tackles), Sam Del Valle (TFL, blocked PAT) and Max Milavickas (fumble recovery) also providing key contributions.
“We’ve got some young guys defensively out there, but they get a little confidence and anything can happen,” Jordan Lynch said. “[Defensive Coordinator Dave Lenti] is the best coach in the state. The defense was awesome.”
For Marist (2-1, 1-1), senior running back Jamari Grant rushed for 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Dontrell Jackson Jr. threw for 114 yards and a TD, a 7-yard pass to senior Patrick Winters (St. John Fisher). Jackson also rushed for 63 yards. Senior Matt Rolek (St. Christina) had 4 catches for 43 yards.
Marist’s tough loss came after a Week 2 rivalry win over Br. Rice.
“Another nail-biter. It’ll be that way every week [in the CCL/ESCC-Blue],” said Marist Coach Ron Dawczak. “It’s two really good teams, and Mt. Carmel made plays when they needed to. We had a couple mental mistakes but give them credit. They made plays and came out on top.”