Zaire Barnes, who missed multiple games this season due to a broken right thumb, is back on track.
The senior running back/cornerback was instrumental in Carmel Catholic's first win of the season, 28-21 over St. Patrick on Sunday afternoon.
Barnes rushed for 156 yards in 23 carries, scored 3 touchdowns and came up with a key fourth-quarter interception that helped break the Corsairs' seven-game losing streak at Triton College in River Grove.
Carmel is 1-7 overall and 1-5 in the East Suburban Catholic. St. Patrick slipped to 2-6 and 2-4 in conference play. The Corsairs close out the season at home against Benet.
"I am so happy for these kids," said Carmel coach Andy Bitto. "We had a lot of bumps in the road this year but we learned from them and have been getting better."
Barnes, who is heading to Western Michigan next season, came up with big play after big play.
"In the fourth quarter after St. Pat cut the lead to 28-21, we were faced with a fourth-and-1 with 2:05 left in the game," said Bitto. "We gave the ball to Zaire, who got us a first down, and we were able to run out the clock."
"This was a good game for us," Barnes said. "We stepped up and we were clicking on offense and we played good second-half defense. When I got us the first down it was an important play. I knew I had to make it."
Barnes finished a short 26-yard drive in the first quarter that was set up by a 13-yard Shamrocks punt.
Barnes picked up a 12-yard gain on the drive before scoring from the 1-yard line with 6:08 left in the first quarter.
Ryan Monkman made the first of four extra point kicks for a 7-0 lead.
The Shamrocks tied it at 7 with 1:41 left in the quarter when junior quarterback Luca Paolucci (17-of-24 passing for 199 yards, 2 interceptions) connected with Joey Lombardi (9 receptions, 97 yards) on a 19-yard scoring pass. Brett Rosenbusch made the first of his 3 extra points to make it 7-7.
Carmel went back up 14-7 when Barnes scored from the 11 with 11:31 left in the first half to cap an 8-play 76-yard drive. Barnes had a 21-yard run and Myles Tramill added a 29-yarder on the drive.
Again St. Patrick countered, with an 8-yard run by Paolucci to tie the score at 14-14.
The Shamrocks had a chance to take the lead with 19 seconds left in the second quarter. Rosenbusch lined up for a 38-yard field goal attempt but Bitto called three timeouts to freeze the Shamrocks kicker.
"I've used that tactic several times in the past," Bitto said. "It's worked every time."
Rosenbusch's try went wide left.
Sean Lynch scored on a 3- yard run with 6:57 left in the third quarter for a 21-14 lead. Lynch had a good day with 100 yards rushing in 21 attempts.
Barnes put the game away with a 1-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Carmel's defense rose to the occasion with Jonathan Young and then Barnes coming away with interceptions on the next two possessions.
"That was a big interception," Barnes said. "I was just playing my man straight up and just beat him to the ball."
"Our defense played a good second half," said Carmel middle linebacker Jimmy Harvey. "It was my first start at middle line backer from outside linebacker (due to another teammate's injury). We knew they wanted to run, and we forced them to try to go outside. We just picked it up on defense."
The Shamrocks did not record a first down in the second half until midway in the fourth quarter.
George Ohanessian (21 carries, 64 yards) scored from the 1-yard line with 2:27 left in the game.
The Shamrocks tried to get the ball back on an onside kick but Sean Graham fell on the ball for the Corsairs.
Stevenson 42, Waukegan 0: The visiting Patriots clinched a spot in the postseason by winning handily at Weiss Field in Waukegan in a game originally scheduled for Saturday.
Stevenson improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the North Suburban Conference heading into a Week 9 matchup at home against Warren.
Unbeaten Lake Zurich would clinch the NSC title with a Week 9 win at Mundelein.
Waukegan fell to 0-8 and 0-6.