Mount Carmel pounds Simeon

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Mount Carmel pounds Simeon

By Mike Clark

Season Pass

Even if the results were there for Mount Carmel the past two weeks, something was clearly missing.

Though the Caravan was getting healthier with the return of mainstays like linebacker D.J. Romero and more diverse with the emergence of Vince Speller on offense, the formula wasnt complete.

We thought our enthusiasm in the Providence game and the Brother Rice game, it seemed a little down compared to what its been in the past, quarterback Don Butkus said. Thats what wet tried to emphasize, playing with enthusiasm, playing Mount Carmel football. Being fast, energetic. getting to the ball.

I thought the defense really accomplished that.

The numbers proved it, too. The Caravan didnt give up a play for positive yardage till early in the second quarter, when it was up by four touchdowns and well on the way to a 41-6 win over Simeon Friday night in Class 8A second-round action at Gately Stadium.

Butkus threw two touchdown passes to Speller and ran for another score for Mount Carmel (10-1), which goes on the road next weekend to play the winner of Saturdays Lyons-OFallon game. Simeon (8-2), which had won eight straight since an opening loss to Loyola, drops back into the Prep Bowl playoffs.

The tone for this game was set early by Mount Carmel on both offense and defense.

Butkus raced 79 yards down the left sideline on the second play from scrimmage to set up his own two-yard touchdown run on the next play.

Our dive fake ... sold it, Butkus said of the long run. Their safety ended up flying all the way up to the line of scrimmage. I tried to take advantage of it.

After Simeon went three-and-out, Mount Carmel again needed just three plays to score, this time on a 19-yard run up the middle by Draco Smith (10 carries, 66 yards).

Speller then picked off Simeon quarterback Elcee Burke (6-of-12, 70 yards) on the next play from scrimmage and eight plays after that.

Matt Domer (five carries, 58 yards) went 15 yards for a 21-0 Caravan lead with 3:57 left in the first quarter.

Butkus (seven carries, 82 yards; 57 yards passing) hit Speller with scoring passes of 16 and 30 yards in the second quarter, sandwiched around another TD run by Domer of 12 yards. It was 41-0 at halftime and the only score of the second half was Darnell Cockrells late touchdown run for Simeon.

Vince is a hell of an athlete, a big body, Butkus said. We just try to put him where hes going to be able to make plays. A lot of guys are starting to key on Jason Gasser, Mount Carmels leading receiver. ... Being able to hit Vince with two touchdown passes hopefully will open things up for us.

Speller, whos committed to Eastern Illinois as a cornerback, was glad to help out however he could.

We knew Simeon was going to come out and punch us in the mouth, Speller said. We had to throw the first punch.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs visit White House as World Series champions

On the latest edition of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan is joined by David Haugh (Chicago Tribune) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) to discuss the Cubs' visit to the White House.

The guys reflect on the historic day and Theo Epstein's speech. Then, the panel breaks down the Packers' impressive run and question whether it's okay for Bears fans to appreciate Aarond Rodgers and company.

Finally, are the Wild the Blackhawks' biggest threat come playoff time?

Listen to the SportsTalk Live podcast below.

 

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

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USA TODAY

Fire trade for midfielder Dax McCarty

Midfield has been an area of focus this offseason for Chicago Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and another new addition to that group was added on Monday.

The Fire have traded $400,000 in general allocation money in return for midfielder Dax McCarty from the New York Red Bulls. Paul Tenorio of Four Four Two first reported the trade.

McCarty was an All-Star in 2015 and part of the league's Best XI that season when he had eight assists to go with a goal. Last season he made 26 starts for the Red Bulls and totaled three goals and had five assists.

"Since the middle of 2016, we made acquiring Dax our No. 1 priority," Rodr√≠guez said in the club's press release. "We believe adding his character and leadership in the locker room, as well as his exceptional soccer abilities on the field, dramatically improves our team."

The last time McCarty played at Toyota Park was a 2-2 draw on July 31 when a Khaly Thiam tackle caused a fractured tibia, which forced McCarty to sit out a month.

McCarty got married on Saturday, which delayed his arrival to the current U.S. national team camp. McCarty's participation in national team camp means he will join the Fire's preseason already in progress. The final match of the camp is on Feb. 3 while the Fire are set to start preseason on January 23.

McCarty, 29, has spent the past five and a half seasons with the Red Bulls. He began his career by playing five seasons for FC Dallas and was with D.C. United for part of the 2011 campaign before being traded to the Red Bulls. As an 11-year league veteran and the Red Bulls' captain, McCarty adds leadership and experience which Rodriguez has prioritized this offseason.

The Fire already added a former MLS All-Star in midfield this offseason in Juninho. The pair could line up next to each other in the preferred 4-2-3-1 coach Veljko Paunovic used for most of last season. This also could potentially put Matt Polster's role with the team in question. As the roster stands now, the third-year midfielder would be competing for two veteran All-Star caliber midfielders who were brought in at a high price.

Not to suggest a position move is in the works for Polster, but he did split time between midfield and right back with the Fire in 2015 under coach Frank Yallop and played there for the U-23 national team in Olympic qualifying. Right back remains a position of need by Rodriguez's own admission.

The trade also adds further context to the Fire trading the No. 3 pick in the draft on Friday. The Fire swapped the pick for $250,000 in general allocation money from New York City FC and Tenorio is reporting the Fire will send $400,000 to the Red Bulls for McCarty. To add those two moves together, the Fire dealt the No. 3 overall pick and $150,000 of allocation money for McCarty.