High school football: Previewing the state championship games

Mount Carmel’s Blainey Dowling (7) runs the ball against Brother Rice.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Undefeated, top-ranked Mount Carmel certainly remembers last season’s thrilling win against Batavia in the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs.

There were two controversial pass interference calls and the Caravan eventually won on an untimed down. But Mount Carmel has moved on. Quarterback Blainey Dowling is a completely different player, stronger and much more dangerous.

The loss has lingered in Batavia.

“That was a very emotional game for our program, our community and our kids,” Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron said. “I pretty much heard about it every week for a whole year. If anything I’ll be glad we are done talking about it.”

Batavia doesn’t seem obsessed with revenge against Mount Carmel. It’s a state title game and that is always a special moment for a community, especially a football-crazed place like Batavia. But matching up against the Caravan again adds some spice to the game, which is at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Champaign.

Batavia has two Power Five bound linebackers, Tyler Jansey (Wisconsin) and Jack Sadowsky (Iowa State). The Bulldogs’ offense has improved throughout the season but it’s a defensive-led team.

“[Jansey] is like a comic book hero,” Piron said. “He’s special, playing terrifying linebacker and powerful running back. He took some criticism after last year’s game. It wasn’t always nice.”

Mount Carmel (13-0) has been extremely difficult to run against this season.

“We are built on our front seven,” Caravan coach Jordan Lynch said. “They are physical and they fly around.”

Denny Furlong and Alonzo Manning have stepped up and helped fill the void after Mount Carmel star running …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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