- Mike Grimala, ESPNHS
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The best game of the week looks to be Mount Carmel vs. St. Rita, as the squads renew one of the state's most entertaining rivalries. Both are defense-first teams that like to control the ball with the running game, and this figures to be a smashmouth contest with intriguing matchups all over the field
No. 6 Mount Carmel at No. 5 St. Rita
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Mount Carmel —Senior RB/DB Brandon Greer is simply one of the most valuable players in Illinois. His running provides the heart of the Mount Carmel offense, and he's always a threat to make a big play on defense. He'll need to pick up consistent yardage on first down in order to keep the Caravan out of obvious passing situations.
St. Rita — St. Rita relies on a balanced running attack and a safe, limited passing game. The Mustangs' defense is one of the best in the state and usually puts the offense in good position. Senior LB Will McNamara (55 tackles) is a real hitter, while senior DB Zack Soria is a playmaker in the secondary. Soria has picked off six passes this season, returning one for a touchdown.
This is one of the most prestigious rivalry games going, so there will be no shortage of motivation for either side. St. Rita has won the last three games, but the teams appear to be evenly matched this time around. The result of this game will also have an impact on the Catholic League Blue standings, as Mount Carmel needs a win to stay alive for the league title.
I have a tendency to pick defense when it comes to big games, and I happen to think St. Rita has the superior D in this one. Look for the Mustangs to swarm the running lanes and force Mount Carmel into the air, which plays right into St. Rita's hands.
ST. RITA 24, MOUNT CARMEL 20
For the rest of my picks, check out yesterday's post by clicking here.