With the St. Rita football team making a run to the state quarterfinals, senior wide receiver Frank Napleton had to put his hockey season on hold.
Although he managed to play in a couple of Chicago Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) games when his schedule permitted, Napleton’s priority was football. With the playoffs ending for St. Rita against Lake Zurich, Napleton is now all hockey—much to the delight of the Mustangs.
Scoring an early goal on Nov. 16 at Southwest Ice Arena in CCHL action, Napleton helped lead St. Rita to a 3-1 victory over Fenwick.
Physically, St. Rita's Jordan Matthews hasn't changed much from last season.
He's still supremely fit.
His exceptional basketball skills — dribbling, defending, decision-making and driving to the basket — remain at a level few other point guards in the Southland can match.
Mentally, however, the 6-foot, 170-pound combo guard is a different kid.
"Everything has changed from that standpoint," he said. "My work ethic has changed. I'm more of a leader. I'm making these guys (teammates) go hard harder and, in turn, that's pushing me to go harder.
"There's no slacking off this year. We know how good we can be."
By: Tony Baranek
The way St. Rita senior Chris Childers sees it, he needs to ramp up his running game.
"The O-line does great, I just need to make better reads on my runs," he said. "I need to be a little more patient."
As a receiver, Childers was a gamebreaker for the Mustangs in their 38-21 Catholic League Blue victory Friday over Mount Carmel.
St. Rita was clinging to a seven-point lead late in the third quarter when Childers made a one-handed catch on a pass from Jake Zylman. He took the ball 17 yards to the Caravan 1.
Three plays later, David Gleaves ran it in for a score, sending the Mustangs on their way.
Childers finished with 90 yards rushing and added a 24-yard touchdown reception for St. Rita (4-1, 1-1).
Alek Thomas rushed for 104 yards and Kyle Davis scored on an 84-yard run for Mount Carmel (3-2, 0-2).
Childers had some impressive runs late, appearing to gain confidence from his key catches.
"You've just got to keep your head up," Childers said. "Jake really did a nice job on that (TD pass), and I just did my thing. I couldn't have done it without the O-line and Jake.