St. Rita Sophomore Football Team Captures Share of Chicago Catholic League Blue Title!

Article Written By: John Nee '93

Head Coach Brian O’Sullivan and his staff didn’t quite know what to make of his sophomore group as they gathered for summer practice. Numbers seemed to be down from some of his previous teams, and this group was coming off of a disappointing freshman season.

The season began with a very sloppy 7-0 win over Simeon and a forfeit win over Dunbar, so after two weeks O’Sullivan and his staff still didn’t know what to expect when the Catholic Blue portion of the schedule came calling.

A tough loss in the final seconds in week three at Montini didn’t quite quell their fears, but week four would be the game that put them on the path to a championship.

The sophs opened up their Catholic League Blue schedule at Mt. Carmel. The Caravan had beaten this group soundly as freshmen, so no one knew exactly what to expect, but quarterback Jack Zylman led the Mustangs to a convincing 26-7 road win proving to themselves and the rest of the league that they were going to be contenders.

A visit to an undefeated Providence team came next, and once again the Mustangs were up to the task handing the Celtics their one and only loss on the season. Quarterback Jake Zylman hooked up with speedy wide receiver David Gleaves for two long, early touchdowns to get the Mustangs off and running. Chris Childers would provide some much-needed yards on the ground down the stretch as the Mustangs held on for probably their biggest win on the season.

After easy non-conference wins over Aurora Christian and St. Joe, the Mustangs needed only one win in their final two CCL Blue games to clinch a share of the title. A bad first half versus Loyola in week eight was too much to overcome as the Mustangs dropped their first conference game to the Ramblers 29-13, which set up a week nine showdown versus Brother Rice with a share of the Catholic League Blue title on the line.

The Mustangs wasted no time jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead over the Crusaders behind a defensive touchdown from lineman Pat Hanrahan and touchdown pass from Zylman to Gleaves. St. Rita would go on to put 35 points on Brother Rice--holding on for a 35-27 victory and a Catholic Blue title.

The sophomore team will now join the varsity as they prepare to chase a Prep Bowl Championship.