High School Football – Four Week 1 tries

Top-ranked Mount Carmel delivered on Friday, taking down St. Rita with ease in the 100th matchup between the South Side rivals.

The maturation of Caravan quarterback Blainey Dowling was the story of the game. He is bigger and stronger this season and his accuracy was impeccable. Dowling completed 19 of 21 passes for 318 yards and five touchdowns. He connected with seven different receivers.

One player who seems to get lost in the hype of all future Mount Carmel college players is wide receiver Denny Furlong. Last season it was Furlong’s nine-yard touchdown run in that overtime that beat Batavia in the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs.

It was a play designed for Furlong to take the trade and pass Damarion Arrington. Furlong made a split-second decision to race in his place and handed the Caravan a magical victory.

Furlong (5-11, 185 pounds) was Mount Carmel’s leading receiver last season with 30 receptions for 540 yards and five touchdowns. He was a force in Week 1 against St. Rita, finishing with three catches for 97 yards. His 54-yard touchdown reception was the highlight play of the game.

“He’s a guy that’s outsourced,” Caravan coach Jordan Lynch said. “That kid can play FCS Division I soccer. He’s a great player who comes to work every day.”

freshman freak

The week before the season, Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow wasn’t sure which of his talented quarterbacks would start. Ivlow thought having two “cannon” quarterbacks was a team strength and not a problem.

Freshman Jonas Williams got the job. And he had a spectacular debut in Week 1, leading the Raiders to a 49-12 victory against Minooka, throwing for more than 400 yards and seven touchdowns.

Bolingbrook's Jonas Williams completes a drill during practice.

Bolingbrook’s Jonas Williams completes a drill during practice.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Williams has two standout receivers to target in I’Marion Stewart and Kyan Berry-Johnson. He expects the Raiders’ offense to be one of the most impressive units in the area this season.

Bolingbrook will face Simeon at Gately on Saturday.

Young Mustang debut

Morgan Park opened Friday against Richards and was not part of the three-game slate at Gately Stadium, leaving them out of the spotlight in Week 1.

However, the Mustangs had the most impressive win of any Public League team in Week 1, defeating Richards 30-2 at Gately. The Bulldogs advanced to the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs last season.

The young stars of Morgan Park shone. Junior Tysean Griffin had nine carries for 97 yards and second-year quarterback Marcus Thaxton completed 13 of 24 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

Jovan Clark, a highly touted sophomore, was a force at linebacker. The Mustangs are the youngest of the elite Public League soccer teams, but they could end up with the highest ceiling.

New Factor in Fox Valley

Cary-Grove and Prairie Ridge have dominated Fox Valley and the local Class 6A scene for several years. The conference has been very strong overall, with Huntley regularly participating in the Super 25 as well.

Late last season, another Fox Valley team began to open their eyes. Jacobs finished 8-4 and advanced to the Class 7A state playoff quarterfinals, where he lost a tough match to Prospect.

The Golden Eagles opened the season in the Super 25 preseason. They have a star in senior Grant Stec (6-6, 220 pounds). The tight end has offers from Cincinnati, Florida, Michigan State, Penn State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Wisconsin and seven other Power Five schools.

Jacobs defeated Crystal Lake South 41-31 in Week 1 and had nearly 400 rushing yards, led by senior Antonio Brown with 18 carries for 163 yards.

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