Carmel defense shines in rout of Marian
Carmel vs Marian HS Varsity Football
Updated: September 8, 2012 12:34AM
MUNDELEIN — Despite being overshadowed by turnover troubles on offense in the first two weeks of the season, Carmel’s defense again shined, this time in its East Suburban Catholic Conference opener against Marian Catholic Friday night.
The host Corsairs (1-2 overall, 1-0 ESCC) cruised to a 34-10 victory over the Spartans, and in doing so, managed to take care of the ball better than they had in their previous outings.
In its first two games, Carmel allowed a combined 38 points off of turnovers. They allowed just three points on giveaways against Marian.
Meanwhile, the Corsairs held the Spartans to a meager 45 rushing yards on 40 carries, and just 93 yards of total offense. They also recorded six sacks, forced three fumbles, and senior Sean Brennan returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that essentially iced things.
“Our defense has been outstanding, and they were again tonight,” Carmel coach Andy Bitto said. “We’re using a new scheme this year (3-3-5 formation), and we basically have eight or nine guys who are linebackers on the field every down. It allows us to be a lot quicker, and also allows us to fill gaps a lot faster. This is probably the best defense we’ve had here in a while, but people might not have noticed because we gave so many points away in our first two games.”
Bitto also made a switch at the quarterback position, and replaced starter Josh Walinski — who was behind center in Week 1 and 2 — with 6-foot-1 junior Nick Grandolfo. The move paid off.
Grandolfo (17 carries, 123 yards) ran for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns in what was his varsity debut, which helped turn Carmel’s 12-3 halftime lead into a 24-point edge by the start of the fourth quarter. Walinski, who had a 22-yard TD run of his own in the first quarter, was moved to fullback, right where Bitto said he’ll remain.
“I was a little nervous out there at first,” Grandolfo said. “But once the game got going, I felt really comfortable out there. My offensive line did a great job clearing space for us to run. I think we can have a lot of success if we continue to make sure we take care of the ball.”
Troy Nutall (11 carries, 62 yards) scored the lone touchdown for the Spartans (0-3, 0-1) on a 19-yard run with 1:50 remaining in the game. ~.