Subject Line (article title)
Send to (required)E-mail
Send from (required)E-mail
Joliet Catholic (3-0, 0-0) at Carmel (3-0, 1-0)
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday
Last week: Joliet Catholic def. Muskegon Heights (Mich.), 28-22; Carmel def. St. Viator, 39-0.
Outlook: It might be only Week 4, but get ready for a playoff atmosphere at Carmel. It always is when Joliet Catholic comes to town. In the last decade, these two teams have dominated the East Suburban Catholic and have also been state championship contenders. "Since 2001, I think they've won six conference titles and we've won three," Carmel coach Andy Bitto said of his team's rivalry with the Hilltoppers. "I always say that the road through the ESCC goes through Joliet. For us to win the conference, this is a must-win game for us." - It's a big game for the Corsairs, who must prevent the big play. Bitto says that Joliet Catholic has been clogging the highlight reel this season with the spectacular rather than the ordinary. "They've been a big-play team so far this season," Bitto said. "They are very athletic and fast and explosive. They can turn anything into a big play." Quarterback Breshion Tucker, a basketball player, is one of just three Hilltoppers in the backfield who roll up the yardage. Running backs Josh Ferguson, a returning all-conference player, and Ty Isaac, a sophomore, are also tough to stop. - Carmel has some of the same type of players. The Corsairs are averaging 50 points per game thanks in large part to a backfield that has speed at every position. Quarterback Brian Serio leads Carmel's option attack that also features Michael Panico, Jordan Kos and Matt Maher. Panico scored 2 touchdowns last week against St. Viator while Kos is averaging 12.3 yards per carry. - The Carmel defense, which is giving up 11.3 points per game, is led by linebackers Tyler Lees, Luke Venegoni and Kevin Cox. Lees has a team-high 40 tackles already.