Disabato: Score one for the re-establishment

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During its 28-20 Week 4 win over Brother Rice, No. 1 Mount Carmel looked vulnerable, providing the rest of the Catholic League Blue with faint hope of competing for the championship.

On Friday night against archrival St. Rita, the Caravan looked unbeatable — though Frank Lenti, like most coaches, found room for improvement after his team dominated the Mustangs’ 24-3 at Pat Cronin Field.

Me? I thought the defending Class 8A state champion Caravan looked very much like a team capable of

making its way to DeKalb on Thanksgiving weekend and hoisting state championship No. 12

“We played well for about 2 1/2 quarters,” said Lenti, who recorded the 331st win of his illustrious 30-year career. “Give Brother Rice credit, they played very well last week and we did not. [Friday], it was all about focusing and finishing plays.”

Matt Domer and Jimmy Mickens had their way with the Mustangs defense for the most part. Domer’s blazing speed, which was on full display during a 59-yard touchdown run, and Mickens’ power present quite a challenge for any defense.

The duo combined for 248 yards on the night.

“They have some explosive backs,” St. Rita coach Todd Kuska said. “Those guys run hard and they can move.”

Then there was quarterback Marko Boricich. I watched Boricich run the bases on the baseball diamond during the spring. I wouldn’t exactly refer to him as a blazer. Maybe he took a strength and conditioning course over the summer, but he exhibited quite a burst on a 66-yard run on the Caravan’s first play of the second half.

Even Domer, headed to Illinois, was impressed by his teammate’s burst of speed.

“He surprised me,” Domer said. “I was trying to keep up with him.”

That’s precisely what St. Rita needed to do if it was going to win this game, not fall behind by two touchdowns at the half. Playing catch-up against a Caravan defense that features Enoch Smith (Michigan State) and Steve Richardson (Minnesota) is a recipe for disaster.

Domer scored on consecutive possessions for a 14-0 lead at the break.

“It was important for us to score early and get some momentum,” Domer said. “We wanted to take their crowd out of it. When we get a lead, we have a lot of faith in our defense.”

Not even the presence of Tommy Mister could get the Mustangs back in the game. The Mustangs quarterback, who had rushed for 526 yards and passed for 430 over his first four games, was held in check by a stifling Caravan defense. Mister, an Iowa State recruit, was 10-of-25 passing for 150 yards and intercepted twice. He was held to just 51 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Welcome to the Catholic Blue, Tommy.

“We knew they thought he was going to be a good player,” Domer said. “But we were ready to play. We didn’t play well against Brother Rice. We knew we had to step it up [Friday]. Once we got ahead, we had to step on their neck.”

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