Carmel’s players aren’t hanging their heads after a tough 31-20 Week 1 nonconference football loss to Fenwick at home. Instead, many of them emerged during the weekend wanting to discuss how hard they worked against a quality opponent.
“There were some mental errors out there, but I also think there were definitely a lot of positives,” Carmel senior Joe Hoy said. “Fenwick was tough, but we’re a tough team, too. Our guys showed a lot of heart and put forth a great effort. It’s something for us to all build off of.”
The Corsairs hung tough for three-plus quarters against the Friars. They were within a touchdown, at 21-14, with just over 10 minutes left in the game.
“I think that it was important for our confidence we stayed in the game the whole way,” Carmel junior nose guard/defensive end Joe Belill said. “And even though Fenwick put up 31 points, our defense put forth a solid effort against a D-I quarterback.”
That would be Fenwick’s Jack Beneventi, a 6-foot-6 Iowa recruit who transferred from Benet in the offseason. He finished 13-for-26 for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
“We knew he was a good player, but I don’t think that changed too much as far as how we approached the game,” Belill said. “We tried to take him on just like any other quarterback or player we face. I give our defense a lot of credit. Ten of Fenwick’s points came off a pick-six and a field goal. So I kind of feel like we held him in check most of the time.”
Corsairs quarterback Michael Huiras showed skills of his own in his first varsity start. Huiras ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run on his only rushing attempt. Later, he connected with tight end Noah Turner on a 47-yard touchdown strike.
“The thing I’m most optimistic about is how our entire team responded to adversity in our first game,” Huiras said. “No matter what happened, turnovers, penalties … the guys refused to give in. Those are the kinds of teammates you want in the huddle and on the field with you. It’s a great sign for us moving forward.”
This week, Carmel faces Phillips on the road at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Corsairs don’t plan to take Phillips lightly before they return home the following week to face Joliet Catholic in a huge test.
“We’re gonna treat our next game just like every other opponent,” Hoy said. “No matter what team we face, we always have to respect them. Hopefully, some of the things we did against Fenwick — the good things at least — carry over into this week.
“The other thing we need to do is take advantage when the opportunity presents itself. We had a lot of chances to take the ball away during the Fenwick game, or force turnovers, but didn’t take advantage of all of them. If we can hold on to the ball, stay disciplined and adjust a few other things, I think a lot of games will be ours for the taking.”