Article written by John Nee '93
Nine weeks ago the Mustangs traveled to Gately Stadium as a struggling football team who had been blown out in two of their first three games. That night Mt. Carmel sent the Mustangs home with a 1-3 record in lopsided 35-14 defeat...nine weeks later...
with an infusion of young talent from the freshman and sophomore teams, the Mustangs again travelled to Gately Stadium with a bid in the Prep Bowl on the line. This time St. Rita went toe-to-toe for four quarters with the Caravan, outgaining them 220 yards - 124 yards; but they dropped a heartbreaking 7-6 decision ending their season at five wins and seven losses.
The St. Rita defense lead by linebackers Sean Coghlan and Mike Tiernan held the Caravan option attack in check most of the night. In the first half, the Mustang “D” held Mt. Carmel to 27 yards of total offense as the teams went into the locker room in a scoreless tie.
In the third quarter the Caravan would strike first on a 50-yard touchdown run on a reverse to take a 7-0 lead. Sophomore quarterback Jake Zylman and junior running back Shaun Rule then led the mustangs down the field taking more than nine minutes off the clock culminating with a 4th down two-yard touchdown run by freshman Jake Stefanski to cut the Mt. Carmel lead to 7-6. The Caravan then came up big blocking freshman Gavin Mottl’s extra point attempt to retain their one-point lead.
St. Rita had two late opportunities to take the lead, penetrating Mt. Carmel territory twice only to get stopped on fourth and inches with 3:34 to go, then turning it over at the caravan 28-yard line with under thirty seconds to play.
While it was a trying season for the Mustangs, missing the state playoffs for only the second time since 2000, the seniors ended their careers the right way showing great improvement over the course of the year. While the seniors will definitely be missed, with the young talent the Mustangs have coming back for 2016, exciting times are ahead.