The stage is officially set for a dream matchup in the world of Illinois high school football.
Both Loyola Academy (8-0) and Mount Carmel (8-0) disposed of their Week 9 opponents in short order to set up a regular-season finale that seemed destined to be. The Ramblers will host the Caravan at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Hoerster Field in Wilmette.
Loyola took down visiting St. Patrick’s on Saturday, Oct. 15, by a score of 53-7. Junior running back Will Nimesheim scored twice (10-yard run, 16-yard catch) in the Ramblers’ big first half, after which the hosts had a 46-0 lead.
Senior quarterback Jake Stearney (6 of 10, 63 yards, TD) and other starters got plenty of rest as the Ramblers inserted their reserves with the comfortable lead.
Three Ramblers — Nimesheim, Ryan Craddock and Luke Foster (TD) — totaled at least 40 yards rushing, while 10 Ramblers had at least one carry. Spencer Leadbetter caught a touchdown pass from Luke Collins, and Loyola added two interception returns for TDs — one each from Johnny McGuire and Jack McGrath.
The Ramblers junior placekicker Michael Baker added another highlight, converting a field goal from a whopping 56 yards away. Emmett Gourley added the final touchdown for Loyola, picking up a loose football in the end zone.
It was the third time this season Loyola has eclipsed 50 points (61 against East Moline United and 57 against Brother Rice), padding their scoring average of 44 points per game versus 14.4 given up a game.
The Caravan has a similar lopsided scoring differential, averaging 41.8 points per game while conceding just 6 per contest. Mt. Carmel has shut out four of its eight foes.
Both teams are 3-0 in the Chicago Catholic League Blue Division. The matchup on Saturday will decide the league champion, while also presumably having implications on postseason seedings for Loyola in Class 8A and Mt. Carmel in 7A.
The Caravan’s most significant challenge came in Week 6, when they bested host Brother Rice 28-21. The same week Loyola was pushed by host Marist in a 28-17 Ramblers’ win. Conversely, Mt. Carmel topped Marist 42-7, and the Ramblers downed Brother Rice 57-21.
Versus another shared opponent, Loyola topped St. Rita 34-14, and Mt. Carmel beat them 35-3.
The numbers, though, will not matter as of Saturday afternoon, when something has to give between the two undefeated powers.
The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.
Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.
Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.