St. Charles East sprints past Carmel
As expected, St. Charles East brought its football team to Mundelein on Friday night to face Carmel Catholic in Week 2 nonconference action.
But at times, it seemed like the track team may have snuck on the bus, too.
St. Charles East ran all over Carmel early and often with long rushing and passing plays that looked more like sprints down the straightaway. That paved the way to a breezy 38-7 victory that was halted temporarily in the fourth quarter by a lightning delay.
The Saints, who scored on five of six first-half possessions, move to 2-0 on the season. Carmel drops to 0-2.
"We came out with a lot of emotion and played really well in the first half," St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said. "It was just option offense. Our kids were reading who was open and they made the calls. Our quarterback (William Crossen) did a nice job in the first half coming through and checking into the right calls."
On its first possession and its second play from scrimmage, St. Charles carved up the Carmel defense with a 79-yard touchdown run by Crossen (138 rushing yards on 10 carries; 7-of-13 passes for 168 yards).
The next time St. Charles got the ball, it took only six plays before the sprint show returned. This time, it was running back Ronan Macaluso (84 yards on 7 carries) who rolled up a 46-yard touchdown run.
St. Charles' third touchdown was set up by another long run. This time by Justin Jett (148 yards on 14 carries). His 68-yard run put the Saints inside the red zone and two plays later, Crossen hit Benjamin Rogers for a pretty 15-yard touchdown pass.
Yet another big gainer set up the Saints' fourth touchdown of the first half, a 54-yard pass from Crossen to Daniel Goetsch, who made a fabulous one-handed catch in traffic along the sideline before sprinting to the 15-yard line.
That set up a 2-yard touchdown run two plays later for Jett.
"In triple option, you're always looking for different guys who can make plays," Farquhar said. "Our fullback (Jett) is going to be a four-year starter for us. Our quarterback (Crossen) is a junior but he got reps last year. He's doing a really nice job for us. And we've got a ton of backs that we haven't had in the past and our wide receivers are doing a nice job of stretching the field and keeping those corners honest."
A 25-yard field goal by kicker Thomas Schroeder, who was busy knocking down all of his extra points, closed out the first-half scoring and St. Charles East took a 31-0 lead to the halftime locker room.
At halftime, the Saints had rolled up 417 yards of offense to just 90 for Carmel.
St. Charles picked up right where it left off in the third quarter, scoring on its first possession. This time the Saints chewed up yards in smaller chunks and chewed up clock, too. They took about six minutes to put together an 80-yard drive that yieled a 2-yard touchdown run by Macaluso.
That made the St. Charles lead 38-0.
"At this point, I am genuinely convinced that we are one of the best offenses in the state," Jett said. "I think that we can contend with anyone. It's really nice having so many great athletes and an exceptional offensive line. It really opens up the game. And the passing game, too. Having all these pieces, the defense can't just focus on one thing. It's tough to shut it all down."
Carmel finally got on the board on the next possession when Sean Lynch, a three-year varsity player, took the first play 64 yards to give Carmel its own long sprint play. Lynch finished with 128 yards on 17 carries.
With Carmel driving early in the fourth quarter, the game was delayed at the 11:17 mark for lightning.
"In the second half, we fell a little flat and had penalties and turnovers that were unacceptable," Farquhar said. "A lot of mental errors in the second half. We gave the ball up a lot and we wanted to finish the game strong."
When play resumed, nearly 50 minutes after the lightning delay was initially called, Carmel missed a chance to score in the red zone and then St. Charles East chewed up clock by keeping the ball on the ground.
"They came out and just started off hot," Carmel coach Blake Annen said of St. Charles East. "But I'm proud of the way our guys came back in the second half and kind of rallied and tried to come back.
"I'm really encouraged by the guys and their fight. It wasn't the first half we wanted all-around. But they fought to play together after halftime."