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.

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

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AP

Jonathan Marchessault's hat trick leads Panthers rout of Blackhawks

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -- Jonathan Marchessault scored his first career hat trick, James Reimer stopped 25 shots for his first shutout of the season and the Florida Panthers routed the Chicago Blackhawks 7-0 on Saturday night.

Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists, and Aleksander Barkov added a goal and two assists for Florida. Reilly Smith and Nick Bjugstad also scored to give the Panthers their largest margin of victory since an 8-0 win over Toronto on Feb. 5, 2008.

Marchessault had two goals in a 3-1 win over Arizona on Thursday. He has nine goals over his last nine games and leads the Panthers with 28.

Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots for the Blackhawks before being lifted at 4:59 of the third for Scott Darling, who allowed three goals on six shots.

Already leading 3-0, the Panthers poured in four goals in the third.

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

Brett Anderson’s personality mixing well with Cubs: ‘I don’t hate anybody yet’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Joe Maddon's T-shirt slogans can get a little old at times, but the Cubs manager found a new audience in Brett Anderson, who liked the idea of "Be Uncomfortable" after signing a one-year, prove-it deal with the defending champs.

"It's been awesome so far," Anderson said. "That's my running joke – we're a month into it now or whatever it is – and I don't hate anybody yet.

"That's a testament to the group as a whole – and maybe me evolving as a person."

Yes, Anderson's sarcasm, social-media presence and groundball style fits in with a team built around short-term pitching and Gold Glove defense. The if-healthy lefty finished his Cactus League tour on Saturday afternoon by throwing four innings (one unearned run) during a 7-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies in front of 13,565 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Anderson will open the season as the No. 4 starter after a camp that has been remarkably low-key and drama-free.

"I'm kind of cynical by nature, but it's a fun group to be a part of," Anderson said, "(with) young guys that are exciting and happy to be here. And then obviously the mix of veterans, too, that are here with intentions of winning another World Series."

To make that happen, the pitching staff will have to again stay unbelievably healthy. Anderson rolled with a general question about how he physically feels now compared to where he's usually at by this time of year.

"Obviously better than last year, because I was walking with a gimp and all that stuff," said Anderson, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a bulging disk in his lower back last March. "No, my body feels good, my arm feels good and you're getting into the dog days of spring training where you're itching to get to the real thing."