The Dominicans versus the Jesuits. Who ya got?
The highly anticipated high school football showdown between Chicago Catholic League unbeaten teams Fenwick (4-0) and Loyola Academy (3-0) takes place on Friday, Sept. 23 at Triton College in River Grove. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
The Friars cruised past host Leo 36-8 in Chicago Friday night. Fenwick quarterback Jacob Keller and running back Conner Lillig led the way once again offensively.
Keller completed 14 of 22 passes for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Lillig rushed 19 times for 134 yards and a TD.
Standout wide receiver Mike O’Laughlin also played well, with seven catches for 91 yards including a TD catch.
Wide receivers Sherman Martin (3 catches, 42 yards), Jack Henige (3 catches, 35 yards, TD), Lillig (2 catches, 33 yards) also contributed to the Friars’ diversified aerial attack.
“Our coaches hold us to the highest standards,” Henige said. “For example (Fenwick wide receivers) Coach Rooney demands that we catch every ball.
“There is no room for error and especially no room for lack of focus. As players and teammates, we push each other as hard as we can because we know that competition breeds success, That’s one way we improve every day.”
While some may view the Friars’ 4-0 start a bit surprising (especially with victories against defending state champs like Phillips (Class 4A) and Montini (6A), the players believed they could bounce back from last year’s 3-6 campaign.
That served as a powerful source of motivation during the offseason.
“Expectations are always very high for us. They have been even greater this year,” Fenwick offensive lineman Joe Calcagno said. “Between having so many returning players (17), having a brand new home field and maintaining our Fenwick tradition of excellence, we have a lot to live up to. We are all confident in each other to meet end exceed those expectations.”
Looking ahead to Loyola Academy, the Ramblers are led by standout tight end Jake Marwede, quarterback Tommy Herion, plus other running backs Kyle Rock and Hammid Bullie. The 6-foot-5 Marwede is a Duke recruit and one of the best players in the state.
Fenwick will counter with Keller, Lillig and a cadre of talented receivers plus a swarming defense.
Although the Loyola-Fenwick game will be hyped up, the Friars have done an excellent job of tackling the season game by game.
“One key to our 4-0 start has been our ability to ignore the hype and take care of business,” offensive/defensive lineman Sean Heslin said. “No one outside of ourselves had high expectations at the beginning of the season. We’ve had a chip on our shoulders because of that and we’re focused on our team goals.”