The St. Edward football team already had next Friday's Metro Suburban Blue opener at defending Class 3A state champion IC Catholic Prep in mind while rolling past host Guerin 56-0 in River Grove Saturday
"We were prepping for Guerin but in the back of our heads we were thinking IC the whole time because of what they did to us last year," St. Edward senior Tyler Holte said of a 49-3 loss. "We really want to get revenge on them and give them our best shot."
Giving IC their best shot meant the Green Wave needed to stay healthy on a warm September afternoon against the Crusaders. Mission accomplished. Running back Angel Garcia sat after a series to rest a nagging ankle injury, but St. Edward (3-1) otherwise came through healthy.
"That was the goal," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "We didn't care if we won this 14-0, 28-0, 28-14. We just wanted to make sure we got everybody -- all 21 of them -- healthy for next week. IC is a powerhouse. Everyone knows that, so we needed all our guns healthy. We don't have a lot of depth, but we have some quality where we don't have the depth."
Guerin (0-4), which dressed 16 players to St. Edward's 21, couldn't keep pace on either side of the ball. The Crusaders were limited to 15 total yards, 1 rushing. Holte nabbed 2 of the 5 interceptions by the Green Wave defense. He returned his second interception 29 yards for a touchdown to stake the Wave to a 35-0 lead with 7:13 left in the second quarter.
"We had a lot of guys in the box," said senior outside linebacker Ben Harrington, St. Edward's leading tackler. "And we tried some new stuff at corner for next week and worked a lot on the different formations teams will run -- trips, two by two, two by one and all that stuff."
Holte scored again 121 seconds later on a short catch he turned into a 48-yard touchdown by making tacklers miss. He finished with 3 catches for 127 yards and 2 touchdowns, both from all-state QB Dylan Mlinarich, who completed 4 of 10 attempts for 133 yards.
Junior Nick Wright carried the ball 5 times for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns, and junior backup quarterback Jordan West rushed 7 times for 59 yards. West ran for one score and threw a short pass to Sydney Muhammad that turned into a 50-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half, thanks to another broken tackle. St. Edward led 49-0 at the intermission.
Everything went St. Edward's way, including a goal line package that featured 6-foot-2, 260-pound lineman Brett Kruska. He carried 4 straight times for 10 yards, capped by a 2-yard touchdown on fourth down.
"He just threw me in there," said Kruska, an offensive tackle and defensive end. "Pretty cool experience. Definitely one of my favorite high school moments."
St. Edward outgained the Crusaders 325 total yards to 15. Now, it's on to the conference grind against IC Catholic Prep (3-1), Wheaton Academy (3-1) and public schools Fenton (2-2), Glenbard South (2-2) and Riverside-Brookfield (4-0).
"We're excited," Rolando said. "It's all been waiting for conference play. We've got a lot of big schools, a lot of good football teams over the next five games and we have to win three of them."