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Draco Smith, of Mt. Carmel, makes a cut against St. Rita at Gatley Stadium, Friday, October 12th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Mount Carmel’s game plan Friday stressed keeping its offense on the field and St. Rita’s on the sidelines.
The No. 5 Caravan executed the strategy masterfully and, in the process, snapped a four-game losing streak to the Mustangs.
Don Butkus rushed for 69 yards and three touchdowns to lead a Caravan ground attack that piled up 196 yards during a dominant 27-0 win over St. Rita in a Catholic League Blue tilt at Gately Stadium.
Draco Smith (13 carries, 63 yards, touchdown) and Matt Domer (12-52) also contributed to the Caravan’s clock-chewing attack.
Butkus also completed 7-of-12 passes for 81 yards.
“That’s exactly what we wanted to do,” said Lenti, of the Caravan’s offensive game plan. “We wanted to keep the ball away from them. We established that we could throw the ball early, so they couldn’t fixate on the run. We had some long drives.”
Butkus put Mount Carmel (7-1, 3-1) on the board on its very first series of the game, plunging in from 1 yard out. The 14-play, 78-yard drive ate 7:24 off the clock.
The Caravan used a little trickery for its next score. Faced with a fourth and four from its own 47, Joe Pavlik faked the punt and picked up the first down to keep the drive alive. Nine plays later, Butkus scored again from one yard out to make it 14-0 after the second of three Ivan Strmic’s PAT kicks.
“That’s on the punter,” Lenti said. “He saw the opening and took it.”
The Caravan extended its lead to 21-0 at 3:58 of the third quarter on a three-yard burst by Smith.
Butkus added a seven-yard run with 4:41 remaining that completed the scoring at 27-0.
“We wanted to come out and drive the ball,” Butkus said. “We did a nice job of mixing it up between the run and pass.”
The Caravan offensive line of Brian Parker, Steve Richardson, Kyle Thomas, Nick Dreixler and Nate Oquendo was stellar.
The defense, not to be outdone, was superb. Enoch Smith, Connor Griffin, Ronan Flaherty and Richardson led a dominant effort that held St. Rita (4-4, 1-3) to 149 yards of total offense.
Tim Lombard rushed for 69 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback John Kelley completed 6 of 14 passes for 42 yards.
“They took advantage of plays and we didn’t do that,” St. Rita coach Todd Kuska said. “It comes down to a one-game season for us to make the playoffs.”
St. Rita hosts Loyola on Friday.