Fenwick captures Catholic League Crown

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Fenwick captures Catholic League Crown

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
12:14 AM

By Mike Clark
YourSeason.com

Joe Kelly had an up-and-down night for Fenwick on Friday, or maybe it's better to call it down-and-up.

Three plays after fumbling away a punt, Kelly picked off a Brother Rice pass in the red zone to help seal a 7-3 win for Fenwick in the Catholic League title game at Toyota Park in Bridgeview.

Kelly had two of the five takeaways for the Fenwick defense as the Friars (7-5) advanced to the Prep Bowl for the first time since 1991. Fenwick will play the winner of Saturday's Public League championship game between Morgan Park and Curie Friday at Soldier Field.

Kelly recovered a Brother Rice fumble in the third quarter and then picked off a pass with 5:21 left in the fourth period. That came just moments after he mishandled a punt to give the Crusaders (6-6) a first down at the Fenwick 20.

"It wasn't my night in punt returns," Kelly said. "I didn't want to let my team down. I had to make a play to make up for it and I did that."

Rice got the ball back one more time after forcing a Fenwick punt, but fumbled it away on the next play and the Friars' Joe Di Somma recovered. Fenwick then ran out the clock.

"We made a lot of mistakes on offense, but our kids performed on defense," said Fenwick coach Joe DiCanio, whose team defeated Rice in Week 9 to earn an IHSA playoff berth. "We weren't hitting on all cylinders, but it's hard to beat the same team twice."

Eric Hulihan gave Fenwick with 4:46 left in the first quarter when he broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and dashed 39 yards for a touchdown.

The 7-0 lead stood till the fourth quarter, when Rice's Ryan Neilan kicked a 20-yard field goal with 9:42 remaining. Other than that, the defenses dominated to the tune of nine takeaways.

Fenwick recovered four Rice fumbles and had one interception, while the Crusaders recovered four Fenwick fumbles.

"The defense played outstanding," Rice coach Steve Nye said. "We had opportunities offensively. We just didn't do a good job of capitalizing on those opportunities."

Hulihan finished with 82 yards on 13 carries for Fenwick and sophomore quarterback Pat Hart ran 21 times for 80 yards.

Andrew Walker gained 76 yards on 14 carries for Brother Rice. Kevin Salmon recovered two Fenwick fumbles for the Crusaders.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Fremd's Grace Tworek

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Fremd's Grace Tworek

This week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Fremd senior Grace Tworek. 

Tworek has led the Vikings on and off the court this season. Last week, the Harvard commit put up a career-high 29 points in a win over Wheeling. 

Learn more about Tworek's success in the video above.