Mt. Carmel strikes quickly against Glenbard North
Mt. Carmel quarterback Justin Lynch has that rare lightning-in-a-bottle factor, and it struck Glenbard North.
The No. 1-seeded Caravan scored 3 touchdowns within four minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters, each by the 180-pound junior.
It turned a Class 7A second-round grinder into a 34-14 Mt. Carmel win Saturday over No. 16 seed Glenbard North at Barda-Dowling Stadium in Chicago.
"For us not being able to convert some first downs, our defense was on the field a long time," said Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens. "But I'm very proud of our guys. They played hard against a quality team, coming down here in this great environment. I'm proud of what our guys did."
Tied 7-7 at halftime, Glenbard North (7-4) scored on the first possession of the third quarter. Denhim Betney ran 53 yards to Mt. Carmel's 23-yard line to set up receiver Kobie Jamison's second touchdown catch of the game.
Mike Vazquez's back-shoulder toss found Jamison at the 2 and he strolled in. Fabian Martinez's kick gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead at 10:28 of the third quarter.
Mt. Carmel (11-0) found a spark late in the quarter. Lynch pitched to running back Kenenna Odeluga, who tossed it back to Lynch, who found Jack Butcher on a 37-yard fly to Glenbard North's 14-yard line.
On fourth-and-4 from the 8-yard line, Lynch ran it in. One second before the fourth quarter kicker Julian Patino tied the game 14-14.
"I think that definitely boosted us up a little. Energy turned the whole game after that," said Lynch, who passed for 81 yards and ran for 132 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Quickly thereafter Mt. Carmel's Marty O'Brien sprawled to intercept a tipped pass a foot off the turf. Lynch added a 16-yard touchdown run at 10:44 of the fourth quarter.
The Caravan forced a three-and-out, got a 30-yard Odeluga run, and went up 28-14 with 8:04 left to play on Lynch's 13-yard run and Patino's kick.
"We did our game plan, we just didn't execute," said Vazquez, who passed for 160 yards but got sacked five times. "The second half they started bringing the pressure more."
O'Brien secured the win on his second pick of the game and seventh of the season, returning it 84 yards to score. Mt. Carmel moves to the Class 7A quarterfinals against No. 8 Phillips, a 20-0 winner over No. 9 Normal Community.
Betney ran 28 times for 137 yards. Jamison caught 7 passes for 105 yards and opened the scoring on a 22-yard grab. They were part of a DuKane Conference co-champion that reached Week 11 a year after going 0-9.
"We all knew we had to gel together, play hard, and the hard work that we put in paid off in the season," said receiver-linebacker Angelo Cusumano. "But could have kept going a little bit longer, I wish."