Catholic Blue Breakdown: Week 1

Welcome to Catholic Blue Breakdown, a weekly column where I’ll be covering all the action and news in the Chicago Catholic League Blue division.

The Big Story:

Brother Rice 20 – 16 Marist

While there weren’t any conference matchups in Week 1, there was a great far-south Chicago rivalry matchup between Brother Rice and Marist. The two teams are coming off distinctly different 2017 seasons, as Rice went 2-7 (their worst ever record from what I could find) while Marist went undefeated before falling to Loyola in the 8A quarterfinals.

However, these teams proved last season doesn’t mean anything as this was an incredibly competitive battle that went right down to the wire.

Fans of both teams were clearly excited for the start of the season, as both sides of the stadium were packed and it was standing room only despite the misting rain, with students from both schools surrounding the field. In addition to Rice and Marist fans, there were plenty of other schools represented in the crowd including Mt. Carmel and St. Lawrence. Maybe they were scouting for future games, maybe they just realized this game would be more fun than whatever their teams were doing Friday night.

Either way, it was definitely a game worth watching. It became defined by the play of the two QBs: Marist’s Michael Markett and Rice’s John Bean. The two not only led the passing attack for their squads but would prove pivotal in the run game as well. Neither was able to create much in the first quarter, as Bean fumbled in Marist territory to bring the Crusader’s first drive to a halt.

After Rice took the lead early in the second quarter on a Jessi Plunkett 4-yard touchdown run, Marist nearly ran back the ensuing kickoff. That set up an opportunity for Markett to show his skills as a runner, evading several Crusaders on his way to the end zone for a 32-yard score. Marist would miss the extra point, but kicker Ayden Domico made up for it by knocking through a field goal to give the Redhawks a 9-7 lead. The two QBs exchanged interceptions in the final minute of the first half as it ended with Marist narrowly in front.

Bean looked to put his own rushing abilities on display early in the third quarter, but the productive opening drive was canceled out by a missed field goal. It looked like things were about to get much worse for Rice as Marist’s Markett unleashed an 80 yard touchdown pass on the next play, only for it to be called back for a holding penalty. In the end it didn’t matter, as Markett connected with Jadon Thompson a few plays later for a touchdown to extend Marist’s lead to 16-7.

Rice made it all the way down the field on the following drive, with Bean punching it in himself from 2 yards out. With Marist clinging to a 2 point lead, they found themselves with the ball and under 5 minutes to play. Markett had already turned the ball over once, but a second mistake would prove to be one too many. He fumbled the ball inside his own 20, and a few short plays later John Beane got his second rushing touchdown of the night to give the Crusaders the lead with under 2 minutes to play.

After a missed 2-point conversion by the Crusaders, Marist had one last chance. They pulled off maybe the most impressive play of the game by converting a 4th-and-10 via a Boise State-esque ‘hook and ladder’ for a 50 yard gain to get inside the Rice 30. However, the trickery wasn’t enough as the RedHawks failed to advance any further and turned the ball over on downs.

While the win was certainly aided by Marist mistakes, this will certainly be a springboard for the Crusader season. John Bean also has put the rest of the conference on notice, proving he’s an x-factor with his feet and always a threat in short yardage. After a 2017 to forget, this game alone could ensure it’s a 2018 to remember for Brother Rice.

Player of the Game

John Bean (BR): 15-21, 170 yards, 2 INT; 20 carries, 118 yards, 2 TD

Brother Rice

STATS

Marist

170

Passing

161

158

Rushing

149

328

Total

310

23:17

Possession

24:33

3

Turnovers

2

 

Around the League

Loyola 27 – 7 Rockford (MI)

Montini 52 – 0 Hyde Park

Providence 38 – 7 Lockport

St. Rita 20 – 30 Joliet Catholic 

 

Standings

Montini          1-0 (0-0)

Providence    1-0 (0-0)

Loyola            1-0 (0-0)

Br. Rice          1-0 (0-0)

St. Rita            0-1 (0-0)

 

Next Week

Brother Rice vs Crete-Monee

Loyola @ New Trier

Montini vs Christ the King

Providence vs Morgan Park

St. Rita vs Richards

 

Next Week: An interview with Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin, Providence class of 2015

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