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Jordan Lynch (here at the first game of the season) is heading to the state semifinals in his first year as head coach at Mount Carmel. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times.

Mount Carmel’s defense takes care of East St. Louis

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Coming into Saturday’s quarterfinal match up against Mount Carmel, East St. Louis was averaging 54 points.

The Caravan won 29-19 in the Class 7A quarterfinals at Gately Stadium, holding the Flyers to a season-low point total.

“Take away the big play,” Mount Carmel coach Jordan Lynch said. “That’s a team that always wants to throw deep. They live on the big play. If you make them not live on the big play and only give up four yards they’re not happy with it.”

There hasn’t been a team all season that’s been happy going against Mount Carmel’s defense. The Caravan is allowing just 7.5 points and has four shut outs.

“Our defense keeps us in a lot of games,” Lynch said.

Through the first quarter both teams were scoreless. A 27-yard field goal by sophomore kicker Julian Patino put the Caravan up 3-0 with five minutes left in the first half. It wasn’t a huge spark but it was something and Mount Carmel quarterback Rad Premovic fed off of it.

He finished the quarter with a two-yard TD pass to senior running back Kieran Conjar, putting the Caravan up 10-0 just before the half.

The Caravan finished in the end zone but lost a key asset on the scoring drive. Kyle Davis went down hard on the play prior to the touchdown and had to be helped off the field. He wasn’t putting weight on his right foot and came out of the locker room shortly after out of his uniform, walking on crutches.

“Not sure [of Davis’ status],” Lynch said.

Playing with backups is nothing new to the Caravan, they had four starters go down in their second round playoff win over Lake Zurich. Against the Flyers (9-3), Premovic and senior running back Demetrius Rias made up for the loss of Davis.

Premovic accounted for two touchdowns, one passing and one on a 63-yard rush through the Flyers’ defensive line and straight up the middle of the field.

Rias had a 14-yard rushing touchdown but the play of the game may have been Eddie McGee’s 84-yard return on the kick off for a touchdown to open the second half.

“We rotate running backs,” Premovic said. “Demetrius Rias did a great job of stepping up today. We have a lot of guys that can step up and make plays.”

Mount Carmel (11-1) is back in the semifinals after losing to Lake Zurich 14-7 in last year’s semifinal. The Caravan have a point to prove against St. Charles North (9-3).

“Our team might not have all the Division I athletes but we have a lot of hungry athletes that want to get back, they want to get back to state,” Lynch said.

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