Mount Carmel arrived in St. Charles on Saturday as a heavy favorite. The Caravan has a storied tradition and a dominant defense.
But St. Charles North had Tyler Nubin. The Minnesota recruit was unstoppable, scoring a touchdown in the second overtime to give the North Stars a 27-21 win against Mount Carmel in the Class 7A state semifinals.
“Everyone knew where the ball was going but [Nubin] is just at a different level,” St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said. “He’s a man amongst boys. If he is not the top player in the state he is certainly in the top three. That’s just a glimpse of what he’s done all season.”
Nubin had 24 carries for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He had two receptions, including a 34-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Brown. Nubin scored on a nine-yard run in the first overtime. Mount Carmel (11-2) fumbled in the second overtime and then Nubin scored on a ten-yard run to win it for the North Stars.
“That was our opportunity and our guys seized it,” Nubin said. “The ball was on the ground and we went and got it and we knew we were going to score.”
It’s the first time a St. Charles team has ever advanced to the state title game. The North Stars will face Nazareth on Saturday in Champaign.
“This is like nothing I have ever felt before,” Nubin said. “We’ve worked so hard, put so much time and effort into this, the coaches and the families. This means so much to everyone here and you can see that. It’s why we won the game.”
St. Charles North only managed 85 yards passing. Nubin ran out of the wildcat formation for most of the game.
“Obviously Mount Carmel is a legendary program,” North Stars quarterback Kyler Brown said. “But we have Tyler Nubin, the best player in the state. We all know what he is capable of and he is going to get the job done every time.”
The Caravan’s final drive of regulation got all the way down to the one, but St. Charles North’s defense held strong.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better,” Mount Carmel coach Jordan Lynch said. “We pride ourselves on running the ball. We had the ball inside the five for three plays and we didn’t get it in. All credit to St. Charles North who didn’t give up.”
Then North Stars junior DJ Oshin blocked the Caravan’s 26-yard field goal attempt to send the game to overtime.
St. Charles North (10-3) lost several key players to injury early in the season. Its side of the playoff bracket contained East St. Louis, Mount Carmel and Wheaton-Warrenville South. The North Stars were not considered contenders.
“What a bunch of fighters,” Pomazak said. “The resiliency is out of this world. It is beyond me as a coach, it is nothing to do with me. It is all them and it is amazing. Everyone wrote us off. No one said we would win and we knew we would win. ”
Quarterback Rad Premovic was 11 for 17 for 86 yards. Sophomore Kenenna Odeluga was a difference-maker again for the Caravan. The linebacker is a force on defense and carried the ball in key offensive situations. He had 12 carries for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
“I feel bad for our seniors,” Lynch said. “They fought all year. I want to thank them for trusting me as a new coach.”
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