High school football: Mount Carmel defense, accurate Blainey Dowling too much for Marist

Marist has never beaten Mount Carmel. The South Side Catholic schools only became conference rivals recently, so there haven’t been a ton of matchups between the schools.

But the institutions compete for students and a rivalry is starting to blossom. The Caravan players are well aware of the record, which is now 11-0 after a dominating 42-7 win on Friday.

“Everyone on the team knows Marist has never beaten us and it is important to keep that going,” Mount Carmel senior Damarion Arrington said.

Arrington is an outside linebacker and the captain of the Caravan’s ferocious defense. He was on the field when Marist scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. It’s the only touchdown Mount Carmel has allowed all season.

“It came after my pick which was a horrible read on my part,” Caravan quarterback Blainey Dowling said. “So that’s really on the offense. I wouldn’t even put it on the defense.”

Dowling has emerged as a serious Player of the Year candidate. The senior was 17-for-22 passing for 273 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

“He’s a very accurate thrower so far this year,” Marist coach Ron Dawczak said. “He’s getting the ball to his playmakers in space and letting them run. He really has taken a step forward this year.”

It’s the second year starting for Dowling, which is huge. According to Dowling the Mount Carmel defense isn’t just dominating opponents. It’s making Dowling and the offense better.

“They are mean, they are a mean group,” Dowling said. “It’s scary to see them. We go against them every day and that’s why I feel like our offense is so explosive. They make us 20 times better.”

Senior Denny Furlong caught five passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns and Darrion Dupree had seven receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

Dupree had nine carries for 134 yards, including a spectacular 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Mount Carmel (4-0, 1-0 CCL/ESCC Blue) debuted a new replay system on the video board at the stadium. It provided nearly instant highlights. Dupree’s run was so fast that it was hard to properly appreciate live. The replay highlighted every cut and broken tackle.

“We need to keep playing hard and practicing hard every day,” Dupree said. “None of these highlights are important if we don’t make it to state.”

Marist’s touchdown came on a 15-yard pass from senior Dermot Smyth to Nolan Baudo. Smyth was 10-for-20 passing for 94 yards with one interception.

Marist (2-2, 0-1) lost a tight game to highly-regarded Glenbard West in Week 1 and dominated Richards and Nazareth, two strong programs, the past two weeks.

But after the first quarter, the RedHawks seemed outmanned against the Caravan.

“[Mount Carmel] looked like a well-oiled machine,” Dawczak said. “They have a lot of weapons. IT looked like they were bringing in three or four subs at a time and bring in playmakers. That second wave on defense and offense has athletes.”

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