Carmel grinds out important ESCC victory

SHARE Carmel grinds out important ESCC victory

Friday night’s East Suburban Catholic Conference football game in Arlington Heights between St. Viator and visiting Carmel was a game for the ages.

Old-school football vs. modern-day football.

St. Viator ran the four-wide, spread option offense in which virtually every play started out as a pass. It’s the offense of the 2000s and has taken over the sport at every level.

Carmel, meanwhile, ran the old-school wing-T, ground-and-pound offense in which the only passing that occurred was when teammates trotted past each other coming on and off the field.

That offense worked in the 1980s, and darned if it didn’t work to perfection Friday as Carmel pounded out a 38-20 victory.

The Corsairs (4-2, 3-1) are now well-positioned to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, while St. Viator (3-3, 2-2) has some work to do. Carmel is at Benet and St. Viator hosts Marian Central of Woodstock next Friday.

This is Andy Bitto’s 17th season as coach at Carmel, and he has never abandoned the run-friendly wing-T.

On Friday, it didn’t let him down. And neither did his players.

Carmel ran 66 times for 363 yards and five touchdowns — two by quarterback Mike Huiras (17 carries, 147 yards) and three shorts ones by fullback Rondel Jamison (34 carries, 145 yards).

Throw in a 40-yard field goal by Mike Pabst and it was more than enough.

On the other side, St. Viator QB Tyler Johnston was 18-of-28 passing for 254 yards, one score and two picks. The Lions gained 29 yards on 15 rushes, but most of those plays were called passes in which Johnston had to scramble.

“We saw some of this (unstoppable running) in our (Week 2) Phillips game,” Bitto said. “And then we kind of had a bump in the road against Joliet.

“Since then, these guys have worked extremely hard,” the coach added. “We’re getting better every week. That’s what I’m excited about.”

To best illustrate what Carmel did to St. Viator, consider its final TD drive, which completed the scoring. It covered 70 yards, took 17 plays and used 9:36 of clock time.

“We’re building some momentum. We’re one (win) away from the playoffs,” said Huiras. “We haven’t made the playoffs since 2011 and that hurts because when people think of Carmel football, they think of a program that makes the playoffs every year.

“We set a goal,” he added, “not only to make it to the playoffs, but to go far in them.”

While the 38-20 final score on the board was the most important number for Carmel, there was one other series of numbers for the Corsairs worth noting.

Carmel threw three passes, and completed one for four yards.

Just the way the coach drew it up.

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