If you thought St. Rita used everything in the playbook Friday night, wide receiver Brandon Gaston has some news.
“We’ve still got a couple more up our sleeve,” Gaston said after throwing for one touchdown and running for another in a stirring 23-21 Catholic League Blue home win over Mount Carmel.
No. 9 St. Rita let a 14-0 lead slip away in a game that featured three lead changes in the final 5:55.
Mustangs kicker Bailey Marth, who missed an extra point after St. Rita’s go-ahead touchdown with 5:55 remaining, came back to kick the game-winning field goal from 30 yards out with 23.1 seconds to play.
No. 14 Mount Carmel, which is 1-3 for the first time under 31st-year head coach Frank Lenti, had one last chance, but ran out of time at the St. Rita 39.
“We did everything we possibly could do wrong in the first half,” Lenti said. “You’ve got to say our kids showed a lot of character coming back from 14-0 down and taking the lead in the last few minutes.
“Again, we had some foolish penalties, unforced turnovers. We’ve got to stop doing that stuff and we can still make a run [at] the end of the season.”
Mount Carmel’s defense held St. Rita’s Tyre Lee — who was coming off back-to-back 200-yard rushing games against Dunbar and Montini — to 48 yards on 17 carries.
But Mustangs quarterback C.J. Weydeman completed 12 of 29 passes for 194 yards, including a touchdown to Lee. And Gaston threw a touchdown pass in the first half before running for the go-ahead score at 5:55 of the fourth.
“We were fine,” Gaston said of Mount Carmel’s comeback. “It was just our team chemistry was off a little bit. We’re all brothers. We all will come together in the end to make it up.”
Mount Carmel (1-3, 0-2 Catholic Blue) got a 1-yard touchdown run by A.J. Lewis (17 carries, 83 yards) with 14.9 seconds left in the first half. Anthony Ries tied it at 14 with a 4-yard scoring run at 5:18 of the third quarter.
Anthony Thompson (6 of 12, 74 yards) put Mount Carmel up 21-20 with a 5-yard TD pass to Demetrius Lewis with 2:01 remaining.
St. Rita (4-0, 2-0) jumped ahead quickly, getting an acrobatic 43-yard touchdown catch by Lee on a pass from Weydeman to go up 7-0.
The Mustangs made it 14-0 at 8:29 of the second on Gaston’s 25-yard TD pass to Dion Bobo.