By Marty Farmer
While the Fenwick football team has welcomed every battle in the Chicago Catholic League in recent years, the Friars have also shown a willingness to face tough competition outside their conference.
This year's home opener against Kenwood served as no exception.
The well-regarded Broncos scored 20 unanswered points to pull off a 20-9 comeback victory on Friday at Triton College in River Grove.
"We had too many mistakes," Fenwick coach Gene Nudo said. "And too many of those get you an L."
The Friars started well by building a 9-0 lead. Running back Mitch Lopez scored on a 7-yard touchdown run to fuel the Friars' early run.
"I thought Mitch Lopez ran the ball pretty well for us considering it was really his first varsity start," Nudo said. "Their line was a lot better than I thought they were going to be. They had some bigger and thicker guys. When you have guys playing both sides of the ball like we do, that wears on you."
Trailing by two scores, the Broncos responded with a 20-yard scoring play to whittle their deficit to 9-6 after one quarter. Kenwood scored another touchdown before halftime to take a 12-9 lead. They tacked on eight points in the second half to cap off an impressive road victory.
Although Lopez gained 88 yards on 16 carries, the Friars struggled to produce much else on offense. Playing behind an inexperienced offensive line, junior quarterback Danny Cronin completed just 4 for 22 passes for 29. He also rushed three times for 15 yards.
The wide receiving corps was quiet as well, with Marcus Wright catching a team-best two passes for 23 yards.
"We had our chances offensively," Nudo said, "but we had a lot of drops."
Defensively, Konrad Skowyra had 2.5 tackles and two sacks and Tom Dvorak finished with 5.5 tackles and a sack. Other top performers included Marcus Thomas (3 tackles, interception), Solomon Singleton (4 tackles), Tim Carey (5 tackles, forced fumble) and Max Forst (4.5 tackles). Thomas Mills, Emmett Bonaccorsi. Bryce Dowd and Andrew Dakuras also contributed on defense.
Any loss is a disappointment, but the Friars were well aware of their inexperience entering the season. A better gauge of the team's development will be available once the younger players get a few games under their belts.
Fenwick (0-1) hosts St. Ignatius on Friday, August 31 in Week 2 action. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Triton.
"Our message heading into Ignatius is no different than it was last weekend," Nudo said. "Go to work, do what you're supposed to do every day, and things will work out for us in the end. We're not pushing any panic button, but we know we've got to play better."
-Andrew Donlan contributed to this story.