Duel threats: Sujka; Banks carry Mount Carmel

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Duel threats: Sujka; Banks carry Mount Carmel

Friday, Nov. 12, 2010
10:42 PM

By Mike Clark
YourSeason.com

It sure didn't seem like it at the time, but the best thing that happened to Michael Banks was when he fumbled away a Lyons punt early in the second quarter Friday night.

The Lions took advantage of the Mount Carmel senior's mistake to score a field goal. But Banks bounced back to score his second and third touchdowns of the evening as the Caravan cruised to a 41-10 Class 8A quarterfinal win at Gately Stadium.

No. 13 Mount Carmel (10-2) advanced to the state semifinals for the 19th time in 25 seasons and will host Homewood-Flossmoor next weekend. No. 10 Lyons, which was seeking its first trip to the semis, finished 10-2.

Banks ran 17 times for 134 yards, while quarterback Chris Sujka rushed 16 times for 104 yards and three touchdowns of his own, giving him 28 for the season.

That backed a big night by the Mount Carmel defense, which finished with 10 sacks and three interceptions.

"Our defense really got after it this week," Sujka said. "It had a lot to do with our offensive line and defensive line going after each other in practice. ... It got them better."

Banks' early mistake provided a similar spark.

"The mishandled punt was not a smart play on my behalf," Banks said. "The whole game after that, I had to make a play for my team. ... If I didn't do that, that would have haunted me for the rest of my life."

The Caravan opened a 14-0 first-quarter lead on touchdown runs of 10 yards by Banks and six yards by Sujka. Mike Pett's 35-yard field goal, set up by Banks' fumble, got Lyons on the board. Sujka plunged across from a yard out to make it 21-3, but Lyons quarterback Brian Kelley hit Mark Sewall with a 34-yard scoring pass 49 second before halftime to cut the margin to 21-10.

After a scoreless third quarter, Mount Carmel pulled away. Sujka had his third TD run, a 12-yarder, with 11:42 left and Banks had touchdown dashes of 36 and 30 yards.

The Caravan defense took care of the rest, as Jack Houser, Brandon Greer and Dave Nicholson all had interceptions. Up front, Jon-Stefan Bodnar helped keep the pressure on Kelley all night.

"The defense did a great job of getting the ball back and we took advantage of it," Banks said. "The 10 points we gave up, we shot ourselves in the foot a couple times in the kicking game," Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti said. "We did some things that were very uncharacteristic of us."

And then Banks, Sujka and the defense did a few things that were very much in character.

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

Tim Anderson's birthday present from home plate umpire was first major-league ejection

On his 24th birthday, Tim Anderson’s present from home plate umpire Jim Wolf was his first major-league ejection.

In the fifth inning of the White Sox 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics, Anderson fouled off a pitch that landed in the opposing batter’s box. But A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell picked it up in what was ruled to be fair territory and threw the ball to first for the out.

Anderson pleaded his case saying the ball went foul. Wolf agreed, according to Anderson, which only further confused the White Sox shortstop.

“I told him that was BS,” Anderson said. “And he tossed me.”

Anderson said that he was surprised to be ejected so fast. So was manager Rick Renteria, who was thrown out moments after Anderson.

“I don’t want to get in trouble,” Renteria said. “The players having emotion, they are battling. I just think we need to grow a little thicker skin.”

Anderson said that he was appreciative of his manager coming to his defense.

“He kinda had a point and let me know he had my back,” Anderson said of Renteria. “Speaks a lot of him.”

A day after scoring nine runs on 18 hits, the White Sox failed to generate any offense on Friday. The team’s best chance came in the ninth inning.

But with runners at the corners and two outs, Matt Davidson put a good rip on the ball to center field, only to fly out at the warning track.

Anderson and Renteria were watching the game together in the clubhouse, and both believed the White Sox had tied the ballgame.

“We all jumped up and were excited but it kind of fell short,” Anderson said.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

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USA TODAY

White Sox Talk Podcast: Exclusive interview with Mark Buehrle

On the latest edition of the White Sox Talk Podcast, Chuck Garfien goes 1-on-1 with the star of the weekend, Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle tells an absolutely amazing bachelor party story and discloses why he wore No. 56.

Take a trip down memory lane and listen to the White Sox Talk Podcast here