Mustangs victorious via forfeit
RedHawks fall to St. Rita at Soldier Field
Even before the 2013 football season got underway, Evergreen Park coach Dan Hartman admitted the Mustangs’ Week 1 opponent, Chicago Public League member Little Village, was unlikely to present a very stern challenge.
But Hartman never envisioned just how easy picking up a win would actually be.
When heavy rain and lightning hit the area Friday night, the poor weather forced postponement of most south suburban contests. The Evergreen-Little Village matchup, however, wound up in the cancellation category.
Although Hartman was willing to green light any makeup time on Saturday Little Village coaches preferred, the latter “basically said they didn’t want to come back and play.”
“They tried to say they’d struggle to get transportation through CPS, but other Public League teams did,” Hartman said. “We said we’d send buses to bring them down here, but they said no.
“I never had that happen before. You expect you’re going to get something in. We get the [2-0 forfeit] win, but I don’t know how that translates long term [because] we didn’t get the first-game jitters out.”
Hartman ran a practice on Saturday morning, during which he tried his best to simulate game conditions in order to prepare the Mustangs for Friday’s clash with another Public League foe, Phillips. The Wildcats put up a strong fight against De La Salle in Week 1 before losing by three points in a high-scoring affair.
“We watched Phillips play De La Salle,” Hartman said. “With them playing so well, I think it erased any chance of us overlooking them.”
While Evergreen will obviously be seeing game action for the first time this season, Hartman doesn’t want his athletes dwelling on that fact.
“Based on past track records, guys wouldn’t have been on the field very long, at least starting-wise [versus Little Village],” he said. “So we’ll try to treat [Phillips] like any other game.”
• St. Rita 28, Marist 26: Tommy Mister proved Richards’ loss was certainly St. Rita’s gain.
In actuality, the Bulldogs appear to have weathered their former quarterback’s transfer to the Chicago Catholic League Blue program quite well, at least if their opening-week result was any sort of accurate barometer. Mister-less Richards trounced Harlan by racking up 58 points and scoring seven touchdowns on just 28 offensive snaps.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the Iowa State-bound Mister has suddenly become a less effective performer. Marist discovered just how impactful he could be Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field, where Mister was the key offensive ingredient for his team.
Behind his 400-plus total yards and four touchdown runs, St. Rita was able to bag a 28-26 triumph over the RedHawks and avenge a season-opening loss suffered in 2012. Mister’s final TD was supplied on a 19-yard dash with just 1:22 remaining in the contest and gave the Mustangs an insurmountable nine-point advantage.
The score proved critical, too, as Marist managed one more six-pointer on Jack Donegan’s 25-yard pass to Mark Ferguson. St. Rita sealed the deal for itself by pouncing on the RedHawks’ ensuing onsides kick.
“Obviously, it hurts,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said of the outcome. “It was one of those games that came down to a couple plays here and there, but we’ve got to learn from it.
“I think [Mister’s] numbers speak for themselves. He’s a tough, fast runner and he had a great [all-around] night.”
Mister rushed for 213 yards and threw for 189 more, numbers that enabled the Mustangs to survive an impressive debut by Donegan. In his first varsity start, the senior completed 23-of-36 passes for 277 yards.
St. Rita’s defense understandably zeroed in on Notre Dame University recruit Nic Weishar, so Flynn Nagel became Donegan’s favorite target as he caught 14 balls for 153 yards, with one reception going for a 28-yard TD. Senior tailback Peter Andreotti added 103 yards on the ground for the RedHawks and scored on runs of 1 and 2 yards.
Marist and the Mustangs swapped the lead three times in the opening half, with St. Rita holding a 14-13 advantage at intermission. Mister’s 1-yard plunge increased the margin to eight in the third quarter, but the RedHawks responded with Andreotti’s second touchdown. Marist’s two-point-conversion pass failed, however, so the Mustangs were able to maintain a slight edge.
The RedHawks accrued nearly 390 offensive yards and recorded 14 first downs, but some of that good work was undermined by 80 yards’ worth of penalties. Starring on the defensive side of the ball for them were Tim Finucane, Ryan Mishka, Marcus Pitts, David Nelson and Nagel.
Marist squares off with neighborhood rival Brother Rice on Friday.