Mount Carmel’s first drive flamed out quickly. It appeared the matchup between the Caravan and South Side Catholic rivals Brother Rice could become a defensive battle. Well, at least for a few minutes.
Then Mount Carmel quarterback Blainey Dowling found Damarion Arrington sprinting down the middle of the field. Arrington caught the pass and raced past the last two defenders for a 64-yard touchdown and the rout was on.
The host Caravan beat Brother Rice 48-12 to clinch a spot in the Class 7A state semifinals.
“I saw the safety move over and I knew we were good,” Arrington said. “We had to come out and set the tone on offense. That’s what we do.”
Mount Carmel (12-0) led 40-0 at halftime, which led to a running clock in the second half. Brother Rice (7-5) didn’t score on the Caravan’s first team defense. The regular season matchup between the two teams was competitive, with Mount Carmel winning 28-21 at Brother Rice.
“In the first game we didn’t have [linebacker Parker Startz],” Arrington said. “Today we had Parker. That made all the difference and we were ready.”
Darrion Dupree, the Caravan’s star running back, was injured in Week 9 against Loyola and won’t be back this season. Mount Carmel is still finding its way without him. But the passing attack is peaking at just the right time.
“It’s going to take weeks to learn how to play without Dupree,” Mount Carmel coach Jordan Lynch said. “But we found our rhythm. It started out a little slow but the defense was flying around all night and that kind of made [Brother Rice] one dimensional.
Dowling was 15 of 26 for 319 yards and five touchdowns. He didn’t play in the second half.
“When we win it is nothing crazy like how they stormed the field last year,” Dowling said. “When we win, that’s the Carmel way right there.”
Senior Denny Furlong caught a 43-yard and a 16-yard touchdown pass. Jaden Bossie hauled in a 20-yard touchdown and Danyil Taylor Jr. had a three-yard scoring grab.
“Furlong’s catch, oh my gosh,” Dowling said. “That kid is a freak athlete. All the guys are making me look good.”
Mount Carmel’s special teams had a major moment as well. Vince Winters blocked a punt deep in Brother Rice territory and DJ White-Payne fell on the ball in the end zone for the touchdown that made it 34-0.
“It was just a great special teams play,” White-Payne. “I just love this team so much. I’m blessed to be around all of them.”
The Caravan will travel to St. Rita for the semifinals next weekend. Mount Carmel beat St. Rita 35-3 at home in the season opener.
“It’s a great rivalry and a great tradition,” Lynch said. “They are probably the most improved team in the whole entire state from what I saw today and the last few weeks watching them play. Those guys play hard and they are running the crap out of the ball and playing great defense.”