By Steve Millar
For Mount Carmel, momentum couldn’t outlast the weather Friday night.
The Caravan started fast but stalled out offensively following a 95-minute weather delay, and fell 21-13 to Maine South at Gately Stadium.
“That’s just an excuse for us,” Mount Carmel junior Tony Livermore said of the delay, brought about by thunderstorms that passed through the area. “We should’ve come out from the delay just as strong as we started. It shouldn’t have changed anything. We can’t blame it on that. We just didn’t get the job done ourselves.”
Livermore had a big night for the Caravan (1-1), hauling in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Rad Premovic and returning a kickoff 95 yards for a score, but that was all the scoring Mount Carmel could muster.
The Caravan couldn’t have drawn up a better start. After Mount Carmel’s defense forced Maine South (2-0) into a three-and-out on the opening possession of the game,
Matt Lenti returned the punt 20 yards to set the Caravan up at the Maine South 21-yard line.
On Mount Carmel’s first offensive snap of the game, Premovic and Livermore hooked up for the 21-yard touchdown to give the Caravan the lead just over two minutes in.
“We had a lot of momentum going into the game after [last week’s 42-7 win over Hope Academy],” Livermore said. “We wanted to come out and protect our home stadium.
“They gave me a chance to make something happen on that first play, and it felt great.”
Shortly after Livermore’s score, the weather turned for the worse and the delay began with 5:51 remaining in the first quarter.
When play resumed 95 minutes later, Maine South — a Class 8A semifinalist in 2017 — seemed rejuvenated.
Maine South linebacker Jimmy Bartell said the break helped his team.
“That was the best thing that could’ve happened to us and the worst thing that could’ve happened to them,” Bartell said. “For whatever reason, we came out slow (to start the game). After the delay, we were ready.”
Bartell and the rest of the Hawks’ defense kept Mount Carmel off-balanced all night.
Premovic, who finished 14-for-21 passing for 107 yards, was sacked four times.
The Caravan finished with 60 rushing yards to go with the 107 through the air. Kyle
Davis led the ground attack with 44 yards on 11 carries.
Maine South took the lead for good with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns, an 18-yard run from quarterback Bobby Inserra and a 3-yard pass from Inserra to Ryan Kilburg.
Following Kilburg’s touchdown, Livermore returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score to get the Caravan within 14-13, but Mount Carmel could not get the extra-point off after a miscue on the snap.
“It’s a blessing for me to get a chance to contribute this season and be a part of a program with so much tradition,” Livermore said. “I just want to do whatever I can to help us win.”
Bartell made the biggest play of the game for Maine South, intercepting a Premovic pass and returning it 22 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-13 with 8:20 left in the game.
Mount Carmel got one more chance, driving to the Hawks’ 17-yard line, but Bartell sacked Premovic on fourth day with just over a minute left to seal it for Maine South.
The Caravan will attempt to rebound in Week 3 in a Catholic League crossover against
Loyola, the Class 8A runner-up in 2017 and one of the top-rated teams in Illinois this season.