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St. Rita’s Kaleb Brown dazzles in win against Prospect

This wasn’t how Kaleb Brown planned it, and that made it a little more special.

St. Rita wide receiver Kaleb Brown (3) celebrates after scoring a touch down Prospect.
St. Rita wide receiver Kaleb Brown (3) celebrates after scoring a touch down Prospect.
Quinn Harris/For the Sun-Times

This wasn’t how Kaleb Brown planned it, and that made it a little more special.

“It just feels unreal honestly,” Brown said after lead St. Rita to 42-20 win against Prospect and a spot in the Class 7A state title game next weekend in DeKalb.

“Just to have everyone out here on the field celebrating is great. Words can’t explain how I feel. We are going to state, which is how I imagined it. This is what I dreamed of, to end my senior season the right way.”

Brown has played in a couple playoff games since returning from a left leg injury suffered early in the first game of the season. He looked like his dynamic self against the Knights.

Brown scored on a 17-yard run in the first quarter. One second he was leaping in the air to grab a high snap and a few blinks of the eye later he was in the end zone.

“I’m 100 percent,” Brown said. “I’m good. I’m back and I’m better.”

Brown scored on an 11-yard run early in the second quarter to put the Mustangs (11-2) ahead 21-7, they led 35-7 at halftime. Jake Polselli and Johnny Schmitt each returned interceptions for touchdowns for St. Rita.

Prospect (10-3) scored two touchdowns in the last eight minutes of the game after St. Rita built a 42-7 lead.

A pair of sophomore running backs, DJ Steward and Ethan Middleton stepped up in Brown’s absence and both have become key players for the Mustangs.

Steward had 85 yards and two touchdowns and Prospect and Middleton rushed for 100 yards.

“I’m glad they held it down without me and now we can all do it together as a team,” Brown said.

St. Rita will face Wheaton North, which beat Brother Rice 42-20, in the Class 7A state title game on Saturday in DeKalb. It’s the second consecutive title game appearance for the Mustangs. They lost in the Class 5A title game in 2019, the last year the IHSA held the state finals.

“It feels great after all the hard work we’ve put in during the off season and everything we’ve done to get to this moment,” St Rita quarterback Tommy Ulatowski said. “Now we have to finish it this time.”