The regular season of Illinois High School Football is wrapping up this weekend, and one marquee game will be on the docket.
Mount Carmel is a 3-point loss to Loyola away from being undefeated right now, and talking to Mt. Carmel's Enoch Smith Jr., he feels like if they had another shot, they could have been 8-0 heading into this week.
But a likely high seed awaits Smith Jr. and the Caravan. First, though, they face a tough Providence Catholic squad who won't lie down at the end of the season.
Providence also comes in at 7-1, also having lost to only Loyola (although by 20 points), and also vying for a conference title.
So there's no doubt this is a high stakes game. We take a look at the key players in this battle, including Mount Carmel's Nate Oquendo and Matt Domer. Providence Catholic is led by cousins Brian Fordon and Jack Fordon as well as junior offensive lineman Logan Plantz.
For Mount Carmel:
Smith Jr. is very physically gifted for a guy who's only a junior. He possesses a unique combination of size and speed, aided much by the fact that he doesn't carry a lot of dead weight. He's a bit of a tweener when it comes to being labeled as a defensive tackle or defensive end, but he'll more likely end up as a defensive tackle on the inside in college because of his ability to add weight with little ill effect.
Oquendo is a big body inside for Mount Carmel on the interior of the offensive line. But judging by the success of the Caravan's rushing attack so far this season, Oquendo has been doing his job, and doing it well. If he can win some battles inside and open up some holes for his backs, it could be advantage Mount Carmel.
The third of a skilled trio of juniors for Mount Carmel, Domer has shouldered much of the load in the rushing game for Mount Carmel. Even while splitting carries with another back in Draco Smith
, Domer has rushed 74 times for 881 yards. If the two-back system the Caravan will use can wear down the Providence linebackers, Domer could be the key player for Mount Carmel on offense.
For Providence Catholic:
Jack Fordon is the bigger of the two cousins, but he still runs in the sub-4.7 40-yard dash range. He's been getting interest from a few Big Ten schools, but is still awaiting his first offer. A big game this weekend as well as an impressive playoff run could go a long way toward changing that.
Brian might be a little smaller than his cousin, but he still has great size at the linebacker position. In other words, running at one Fordon isn't necessarily more successful than running at the other. One thing Brian has working in his favor is that he's also an excellent student who is hearing from Ivy League schools in addition to a few others. Between he and Jack, the linebacker corps, and the defense for that matter, are in good hands.
For some people, the last name "Plantz" may sound familiar. Well, that's probably because his father and a couple of his uncles have all played high Division One football as linemen. Speaking to his uncle, schools like Michigan
, and Notre Dame
came up in conversation as schools they either played at or played against. Plantz has great size already at 6'5" tall and 310 pounds. He seems like a tough-nosed kid, and if he works at it, he could continue the family legacy.
Providence Catholic High School (New Lenox, IL)
Game Time: 7:30 PM, Friday October 19th