It’s never too early for a football notebook, so let’s recap how our local high school teams fared in Week 1 action.
The Riverside-Brookfield Landmark teams we cover went 2-2 with Nazareth and Riverside-Brookfield recording wins and Lyons Township and Fenwick taking tough losses at home.
Not surprisingly, Nazareth looked like the best team of the bunch. The Roadrunners, who advanced to the Class 6A state championship game in 2017, defeated Lutheran North 20-6 in LaGrange Park.
Alex Carrillo and Dylan Smith had touchdown runs of 11 yards and 3 yards, receptively, to spark the explosive Roadrunners against one of the best teams in the St. Louis area.
In between their scores, sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy threw an 11-yard TD pass to Diamond Evans. After Evans’ reception, Andrew Hughes kicked the PAT to extend the Roadrunners’ lead to 14-6 in the first quarter. Nazareth tacked on Smith’s touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game away at 20-6.
Already drawing recruiting interest from several Division I programs, McCarthy completed 11 of 19 passes for 145 yards with Carrillo (12 rushes, 62 yards) and Smith (8 carries, 42 yards) offering ground support. Michael Love had three catches for 60 yards and Evans finished with five receptions for 59 yards.
Defensively, Marcus Griffin led Nazareth with five solo tackles, five assists and a sack. Louis Stec chipped in three solo tackles and three assists.
Riverside-Brookfield claimed an opening week win as well, albeit in more gritty fashion by outlasting area rival Morton 20-14 in overtime. After the Bulldogs’ Luke Gentile scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 5-yard run, he collaborated with Brandon Aguilar to force a Morton fumble that was recovered by RBHS teammate Connor Pitts to clinch the overtime victory.
RBHS junior quarterback Dario Marchica turned in an efficient performance, completing 16 of 20 passes for 93 yards.Chris Doherty rushed for 57 yards on nine carries. Wide receiver Joe Shelven contributed six catches for 55 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Dominick Rowe had seven tackles, including a tackle for loss and a sack. Elliot Royer finished with 7.5 tackles and a pass breakup. Gentile chipped in five tackles.
“I think we grew up a lot against Morton,” RBHS coach Brendan Curtin said. “We found out a lot about ourselves which is very encouraging.”
LTHS and Fenwick both suffered season-opening losses at home. Sandburg defeated the Lions 24-13 and Kenwood beat the Friars 20-9.
The Lions and Friars built early leads; however an unwelcomed mix of turnovers, penalties, pass drops and other mistakes proved too costly for both home teams.
Making his first varsity start, LTHS quarterback JJ Dutton played well. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 144 yards. Dutton also rushed for 28 yards on nine carries. Sean Rickman scored both TDs for the Lions.
Mitch Lopez rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries for Fenwick in his varsity debut. Junior quarterback Danny Cronin had a very difficult night, completing 4 of 22 passes for 29 yards. The rest of the offensive players struggled as well.
“We had too many mistakes,” Fenwick coach Gene Nudo said. “And too many of those get you an L. We had our chances offensively, but we had a lot of drops.”