High school football: Four Downs, Mount Carmel’s aerial attack sets school records

Mount Carmel’s program was built on running the football. Jordan Lynch revamped the offense when he took over in 2018, but the success the Caravan is having throwing the ball right now is unprecedented.

Quarterback Blainey Dowling has passed for 35 touchdowns and more than 2,300 yards so far this season. Both numbers smash the school’s previous records. Jeff Welsh set the previous record for touchdown passes with 22 in 1996.

Dowling has thrown more touchdown passes this season than any other Mount Carmel quarterback has managed in their career. Don Butkus had 34 TD passes from 2010-12, Jordan Lynch managed 31 from 2006-08 and Donovan McNabb had 27 from 1991-93.

You won’t have to brave the cold weather to get a look at Mount Carmel’s offense. Marquee Network is showing the Class 7A semifinal between the Caravan and Brother Rice live on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Cinderella story

Providence is a No. 13 seed in the Class 4A playoffs. The Celtics flew under the radar all season, but a closer look at their schedule shows that maybe the playoff run to the semifinals shouldn’t have been a huge surprise.

Tyler Plantz’s squad was just 3-6 in 2021 and entered the season without any hype at all. Providence beat a team from Indiana in Week 1 and then was shut out 28-0 by Wheaton North at home in Week 2.

Things turned around at that point. The Celtics beat Fenwick in Week 3 and from then on took care of business against the teams they were expected to beat and put up tough battles against the area’s elite teams.

Providence lost to Joliet Catholic by eight points, Loyola by 12 and St. Rita by 10 points.

On Saturday the Celtics, who took down the Hilltoppers in the second round, beat previously undefeated Richmond-Burton 31-14. Quarterback Lucas Proudfoot threw three touchdown passes, including a 61-yarder to Alex Gibson and a 72-yard score to Jack Tess.

Next up for Providence is a showdown at St. Francis in the semifinals.

A new rushing king

Prairie Ridge senior Tyler Vasey broke the state’s single-season rushing record on Saturday against Harlem. He set a Class 6A playoff record with his 481 yards and eight touchdowns. He now has 3,609 rushing yards this season, smashing the previous total of 3,325 which was set by TJ Stinde of Lexington in 2009.

The Wolves will host St. Ignatius in the Class 6A semifinals this weekend.

End of the road

The quarterfinals were the end of the road for Public League teams in this season’s state playoffs. There’s no shame in that at all, most conferences around the state have been eliminated at this stage.

Kenwood lost a competitive Class 6A quarterfinal game 14-0 against undefeated Lemont and Morgan Park was shut out 29-0 at Nazareth in Class 5A. Simeon lost to Crete-Monee in the second round of Class 6A last week.

That’s a very solid season overall for the Public League powers.

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