Carmel falls to St. Viator in wild game
Carmel's Joe Perrelle carries the football on a reverse during a game against St. Viator on Friday. | Jeff Krage~For Sun-Times Media
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS — In a drama-filled, back-and-forth affair, host St. Viator held off Carmel 28-25 at Forest View Friday night.
With the Corsairs (1-3 overall, 1-1 ESCC) holding a 25-21 lead after senior quarterback Nick Grandolfo scored his second touchdown of the game with 3:28 left in the fourth quarter, the Lions (3-1, 1-1) tallied the game-winner on the ensuing possession when quarterback Matthew Yoder hit wide receiver Harry McCollum for an 8-yard touchdown strike with 1:21 remaining.
Carmel had one last shot, but a Grandolfo pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, and the Lions intercepted the ball at their own 44-yard line with 47.1 seconds to go.
“We started out slow,” Carmel coach Andy Bitto said, referring to a missed 49-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter with the game still scoreless and a fumble that set up St. Viator’s second touchdown for a 14-0 lead late in the period. “That’s a 10-point swing, and we lose by three, so we shot ourselves in the foot.”
The Corsairs battled back from the deficit, pulling within 14-3 on a 32-yard field goal by senior kicker Steven O’Block as the horn sounded to end the first half. They made it 14-11 in the third quarter on a 13-yard touchdown burst by senior running back Josh Walinski (24 carries, 116 yards), and followed that with a nifty 2-point conversion on a fake point-after try as Grandolfo rose up and fired a pass to senior running back Sean Brennan in the end zone.
Carmel grabbed an 18-14 lead on an 18-yard keeper by Grandolfo with 2:04 left in the third. But the Lions answered with a 47-yard touchdown catch by John Balas early in the fourth to regain the lead at 21-18. Exactly four minutes later, Grandolfo’s 11-yard touchdown scamper flip-flopped the lead back to Carmel.
But the Corsairs couldn’t hold on.
“We battled our butts off in the second half ... adjusted to what they were doing,” Bitto said. “I was glad the way we responded, but at 1-3, we’re behind the eight ball now.”
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Thursday to read more about the Carmel football team.