By Brendan Arnold ’23
The Mount Carmel game is always very highly anticipated. Year after year, it is a dog fight to the death that determines which all boys school is superior. In past years, we left the game with heads high and excitement flowing through our bodies. However, we left the game with our heads low and sorrow throughout our bodies in the down years.
The week of practice before the Mount Carmel game is the hardest week of the year. The entire team knows the strength and grit that will be needed in this game in order to succeed.
The theme for this week of practice was to play as a scrapper, someone who isn’t the biggest dude on the field, but the one with the hardest punch who does not give up. In order to be at this very talented Mount Carmel team, everyone would need to be invested into practice this week. Scout team needs to give quality reps to help prepare the starters for the war ahead.
The first two days of practice were the best days we had in a while from a defensive player perspective. We were all flying to the ball, communicating, and best of all, having fun. You could tell everyone on the defense bought into what the coaches had been teaching us.
Before practice on Tuesday, we had our normal special teams meeting with Coach Lane where he presented us with a TPR like usual. However, this TPR stood out more than others.
There was this quote that he used: ”Don’t play because you hate the guy across from you. Play because you love the guy next to you.” This meant so much more than words. You could tell that this quote really affected everyone.
The rest of the week brought high intensity and attention to detail. Game day was coming sooner rather than later .I felt the week rush past us. After the 6 a.m. practice on Thursday, it was officially 24 hours until game time. Filled with anxiety, everyone just wanted to get on the field and play. No one wanted to wait a whole other day to start this battle.
The war began at 6:45 a.m. on Friday morning. School blew by that day. Each class seemed shorter and shorter as the day went on. Everyone during class was worried about the game, not school. Time was ticking as the sun was setting. The night grew colder as the tension grew higher, from the time the first whistle blew, until the last tick of the clock chewed off. The bloodbath and battle for the ball would begin.
As 45 minutes went by, we were still on top. The Caravan had not led the game all night, putting them into a new position for the first time this year. No one in the area expected us to be in this position. Only the team knew our true capability.
The Caravan finally punched in a rushing touchdown to take the first lead of the game. Our offense was given the ball on our 31 yard line with a minute left to go.
The Crazies were louder than ever cheering on the offense one last time. Ryan Hartz drove the Crusaders down to the Caravan 42 yard line.
Hartz drops back looking downfield on 3rd and 15: ¨-ball is up and caught by Owen Gorman.¨ The sideline lit up as the big gain put us in the red zone, but a yellow flag sat on the turf. Ball came back-pushing us farther out of reach.
The air became thinner as we watched the refs move the ball back. It was now 3rd and 20 with all odds out of our hands. Hartz picked up a 4 yard carry to move the chains to 4th and 16. Everyone was now upon their feet chanting louder than before.
Ball is snapped, Hartz moves up in the pocket and…and…he’s sacked. No one has ever experienced a more mentally thrilling four seconds like that before. The game we were supposed to get blown out ended up being a thriller till the end. Mount Carmel won 28-21.
Photo by Josh Torres ‘25