St. Rita travelled to Kankakee on Friday night in search of win #5 and a guaranteed spot in the IHSA Class 7A playoff field. Though Bishop Mac was struggling with only 2 wins in their first 6 contests, the Mustangs knew that the Fighting Irish play their best football at home. The last time St. Rita made the trip south to Kankakee was 2011 when the eventual 7A finalist Mustangs lead by future Detroit Lions Kenny Golladay and Pat O'Connor escaped with a last minute win.
This time St. Rita (5-2) would leave no doubt as senior Mike Mitchell returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, and the Mustangs never looked back in a convincing 35-13 win.
Senior quarterback Jake Zylman (7 rushes, 48yds TD and 3-9 passing, 69yds TD) gave the Mustangs a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter with a 6-yard touchdown run. Then, after a quick 3-and-out by the defense gave St. Rita great field position at the Irish 40, Zylman took advantage hitting senior receiver Dave Gleaves (3 catches, 64yds TD) on a 40-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive to give the Mustangs an insurmountable 21-0 lead at the half.
Due to the wet and sloppy conditions, St. Rita returned to old-school football in the second half running the ball between the tackles on almost every play producing an 11-play and 13-play touchdown drive in their first 2 possessions of the second half to put the game on ice and punch their ticket to the dance.
The Mustangs finished with 241 yards on the ground for the night lead by senior Chris Childers (22 carries, 116yds TD) and senior Ray Bouye (7 carries, 41yds TD). The offensive line lead by seniors Connor Cahill, Aaron Jones, Ahmed Amadou, Colin O'Donnell and juniors Quinn Coghlan and Charlie Allen opened up huge holes all night for 6 different Mustang ball carriers.
This week the Mustangs return to Catholic Blue action as they close out their conference schedule at Brother Rice on Friday at 7:30. The sophomore Mustangs (6-1) will vie for the Sophomore CCL Blue title against the Crusaders at 5:00pm.
By: John Nee
photos: jessica ekern photography