Observations and highlights from Week 3.
FIRST DOWN: Don’t read too much into Mount Carmel’s rough game against Loyola on Saturday in Wilmette. The Caravan is without quarterback Alek Thomas, their best player. Jack Bracewell, starting in his place, fumbled three times in the first half. All three of the turnovers led to Loyola points. The Ramblers won 31-7.
Thomas has a great reason for missing football games. He’s the best baseball player in the state and one of the best high school players in the country. Thomas is in Ontario playing with Team USA in the World Baseball Softball Confederation U18 World Cup. Thomas started in left field and was 1-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in a 9-0 win against Australia on Saturday.
Thomas is expected to return to football for the Caravan’s Week 5 game at St. Rita.
Mount Carmel’s offense may have had a valid excuse for Saturday, but the defense was at full strength. That’s a strong sign for Loyola’s offense, which had started the season slowly. The Ramblers didn’t just score points, they flashed the impressive up-tempo offense they’ve had in past years.
Quarterback Quinn Boyle was in complete control of the game. He was 17-for-25 passing for 144 yards and had 13 carries for 79 yards. Loyola receiver James Joyce was his favorite target and finished with five catches for 48 yards and one touchdown.
SECOND DOWN: IC Catholic, the defending Class 3A state champs, received some very bad news this week. Senior quarterback Luke Ricobene is out for the rest of the season after suffering an injury in a Week 2 loss to St. Laurence. Ricobene has started every game since freshman year, accounting for more than 7,000 total yards and 82 touchdowns.
Junior Khalil Saunders will take over for Ricobene. The Knights are 2-1 so far this season and are at Chicago Christian in Week 4.
THIRD DOWN: East Aurora opened its new stadium on Friday to rave reviews. The Tomcats lost to West Aurora 47-0 in the 125th matchup between the schools, the oldest rivalry in the state.
West Aurora is on an upswing and back in the Super 25 this week. The Blackhawks have made the playoffs the past two seasons. They were a perfect 9-0 in the regular season last year and came within one very disputed play of beating Maine South (the eventual Class 8A champs) in the first round of the state playoffs.
Football fever on the west side of town along with a new home stadium could help spark a revival at East Aurora, which hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 1983.
FOURTH DOWN: Thornton coach Dontrell Jackson has the Wildcats off to a hot start in his third season at the helm. They opened the season with a win at Andrew, dominated Kenwood 54-6 at home in Week 2. Thornton shocked Lockport on Friday. The Porters had no answer for sophomore running back Harrison Bey-Buie on Friday. He had 177 yards on 20 carries, including a 72-yard touchdown run.