Welcome to a very special edition of Mustang Sports Weekly as we recap the varsity football team's home semifinal victory over (Rockford) Boylan Catholic as well as the hockey's teams weekend games against Providence and St. Ignatius.
On Saturday afternoon, at a jam-packed Doyle Stadium, the running back tandem of sophomore Kaleb Brown and junior Kyle James each rushed for over one-hundred yards combining for six total touchdowns as the Mustangs won their first ever home semifinal football game in the program's storied history beating Boylan Catholic 42-21 to advance to Saturday's IHSA Class 5A state championship game against 7-time champion Rochester.
St. Rita struck first late in the opening quarter as Brown took a reverse handoff eighty-eight yards to stake the Mustangs to the early 7-0 lead. Boylan had run the opening kickoff back deep into St. Rita territory before the Mustang defense stopped the Titans on 4th and two inside the ten. After trading punts following the huge initial St. Rita stop, Brown would burst down the left sideline leaving the Titan defenders with no chance to catch him in the open field.
Following a Boylan interception deep in Mustang territory, the visiting Titans would tie the score at 7 with a touchdown pass early in the second quarter.
After star running back Kaleb Brown would leave the game momentarily with a minor injury, junior two-way standout Kyle James would prove that the Mustang offense is much more than a one-man-show slashing thru the Boylan defense for an electric 47-yard touchdown run giving St. Rita a 14-7 lead midway thru the second quarter.
Overall it was a sloppy first half for both teams as they would combine for four interceptions and two blocked punts as the Mustangs would take their 14-7 lead into the halftime locker room.
For the fourth consecutive playoff game St. Rita would receive the second-half kickoff and turn it into immediate points as junior quarterback Brian Johnson took over the reins under center to start the half and quickly made his presence felt with a 48-yard run down to the Boylan two-yard line setting up Brown's second of his four total touchdowns giving the Mustangs a 21-7 lead. St. Rita would go on to score 28 points in an explosive third quarter to take a commanding 42-14 lead into the final quarter as they cleared the bench.
Before taking a seat in the fourth quarter for the second consecutive week, Brown would electrify the "Mustang Maniacs" one more time late in the third after Boylan cut the St. Rita lead to 35-14 as he took the ensuing Titan kick back to the house ninety-yards down the home sideline while the St. Rita student section could be seen in the background in a frenzy as the sophomore put an almost unfair move on the Boylan kicker before finishing the play with his patented stiff arm.
Head Coach Todd Kuska's Mustangs (10-3) will ride a nine-game winning streak into Saturday's Class 5A final as they will battle the 7-time state champion Rochester Rockets (12-1) at Huskie Stadium on the campus of Northern Illinois with opening kickoff scheduled for 10am. St. Rita will be looking to secure their third ever football state championship joining legendary Coach Pat Cronin's 1978 squad and Kuska's 2006 edition.
The varsity hockey team, coming off three consecutive CCL wins last week, travelled to play the league's two top teams over the weekend dropping a 5-0 decision to Providence Friday evening in Orland and a 4-1 decision to St. Ignatius on Sunday. Senior Andrew Capuano was the only Mustang able to find the back of the net as they peppered the Celtic and Wolfpack goalies with over 30 shots each game. The hockey team will next play in the prestigious Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament as they will face St. Viator, Glenbard South, and Maine.
Check back again next week as we recap the Class 5A state championship game as well as the Loyola Thanksgiving Tournament. We will also recap the Coach Roshawn Russell's debut on the bench for the St. Rita basketball team as they compete in the Riverside-Brookfield Thanksgiving Classic and new wrestling head coach John Anderson's first home meet against Leo and St. Patrick.