Sophomore wideout keeps Crusaders moving ahead
The sophomore jinxed Wheaton-St. Francis Friday night.
As a freshman in 2013 Ricky Smalling drew little attention as a football player. That’s not surprising, seeing as how lower-level teams tend to operate with more anonymity than their varsity counterparts.
But Brother Rice coaches knew what they had in the 6-foot-1, 185-pound wideout, and Crusaders boss Brian Badke didn’t hesitate to elevate Smalling to the varsity this season. Undoubtedly the Spartans wished he hadn’t.
Smalling was a big man in the Chicago Catholic League crossover as he caught 11 passes for 150 yards, one of the better performances by a Rice receiver in a while. Two of his grabs went for touchdowns, including a 70-yard play that put the visiting Crusaders ahead for keeps in the third quarter.
“Ricky Smalling really stepped up,” Badke said after Rice ruined St. Francis’ homecoming by pinning a 35-29 setback on the hosts. “We didn’t have a deep threat [last year] after Chris [Rozell] went down with an injury.