Robinson sparks Montini in loss to Mt. Carmel

 
By Stan Goff
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 3/19/2021 11:12 PM

Montini running back Josh Robinson expected to play a big role at some point this season, he just didn't know the time would come in Friday's season opener against powerful Mt. Carmel.

But when the Broncos top running back and defensive back DiAndre Harris was ejected for a targeting hit on a Caravan receiver in the first quarter, Montini's offense was handed over to the sophomore running back who proceeded to put on a show in a losing effort against the 2019 7A state champion Caravan.

 

Robinson, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, carried the ball 22 times for 116 yards and a touchdown as the hosts battled Mt. Carmel before coming up short 31-21 in the long-awaited return of high school football in Illinois.

"I knew I was going to get a lot of carries this year and that I had to pound the ball, but with our No. 1 guy out of the game tonight I really had to step it up," said Robinson, who scored on a 4-yard run in the second quarter after the Caravan had started fast and had a 14-0 lead after one quarter.

For Robinson, it was hard to stay positive early this year when any football season at all was up in the air due to the pandemic. But he kept working and now looks primed for a breakout campaign.

"At first I was down when we weren't sure we'd even have a season," he said. "But my dad told me to stay ready and to keep working hard."

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The Broncos fell behind by two touchdowns after a bad snap on a punt set up Mt. Carmel with a short field that led to a 3-yard TD run by University of Illinois recruit Kenenna Odeluga, and quarterback Justin Lynch followed up with a 4-yard run, the first of three scores from the senior and younger brother of Caravan coach Jordan Lynch.

"We dug ourselves a hole but I'm proud that the kids battled back," Montini coach Mike Bukovsky said. "You could tell we didn't do a real good job of getting the rust off."

With Odeluga running for 111 yards and Lynch running for two scores and adding a touchdown through the air, Mt. Carmel showed why they're one of the top teams again in 2021. But the Broncos, who trailed 21-7 at the half, got a big fourth down stop early in the second half and then closed the gap to 21-14 on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Cole Teschner to Mingo Nixon in the third quarter. Brett Pickering added a 7-yard scoring pass to Estevan Moreno late but it was not enough to keep up with the Caravan.

"Montini's a good football and man, they've got some big guys up front," Jordan Lynch said. "But it's great for us to have a senior quarterback and to have Kenenna run hard."

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