IC Catholic Prep (4-0, 0-0) at St. Edward (4-0, 0-0) Metro Suburban Blue
Game time: 7 p.m. Friday.
Last week: IC Catholic 72, Chicago Christian 0; St. Edward 50, Guerin 0.
Last year: IC Catholic 41, St. Edward 6.
Outlook (from the IC Catholic perspective): Since 2009 these teams have split 3-3 dating to their Suburban Christian Conference days. They're the MSC Blue's top two teams both in scoring and scoring defense, with IC averaging 56 points and St. Edward allowing 10.5. IC's Northern Illinois-bound Jordan Rowell has already run for 691 yards and 14 touchdowns, though the Knights' up-tempo offense is predicated by how quarterback Luke Ricobene reads the defense. Senior safety Matt Sutton makes the calls on defense, which will bring the heat with physical linemen Jimmy Kenneally, Robert Vitek, Dylan Packer and Ricky Mysliwiec. St. Edward's 6-foot-2 quarterback Dylan Mlinarich has thrown for 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns, gutting Walther Christian and Lindblom for 7 TD passes apiece. Saveon Smith has caught 6 touchdown passes and averages 27 yards per catch. However, IC's staff includes former NFL safety and current ESPN analyst Matt Bowen, a big advantage.
Outlook (From the St. Edward perspective): This Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division opener is among the most important games on the schedule for each of these longtime rivals. A Class 3A semifinalist in 2015, IC is 3A's top-ranked team. Led by all-state tailback and cornerback Jordan Rowell (6-foot-2, 195 pounds), committed to Northern Illinois, and junior quarterback Luc Ricobene, the Knights have scored 225 points. That total includes 61 points against a St. Laurence team that has beaten Benet, St. Rita and defending 3A champ Bishop McNamara. Rowell has rushed for 691 yards and 14 touchdowns on 55 carries. Ricobene has completed 45 of 73 passes for 617 yards and 5 touchdowns and been intercepted three times. Ricobene also has rushed 19 times for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, which has St. Edward coach Mike Rolando's attention. "Rowell is outstanding and you have to account for him, but what scares us most is (Ricobene)," Rolando said. "Even if you do everything well on a play, he can scramble and make a play because he's so multidimensional." IC gave up 49 points to St. Laurence in a Week 2 win. Otherwise, the Knights shut out Bishop McNamara, Elmwood Park and Chicago Christian. IC defensive end Jimmy Kenneally (6-1, 235) was an honorable mention all-state pick in 2015. Last year, he terrorized St. Edward quarterback Dylan Mlinarich throughout IC'S 41-6 victory. Mlinarich comes in hot. The left-handed junior has thrown for 1,179 yards and 20 touchdowns on 66-of-115 passing (57.4 percent).
Next week: Riverside-Brookfield at IC Catholic; St. Edward at Fenton.
St. Edward's Dylan Mlinarich takes air show against No. 1 IC Catholic
September 21, 2016
The Pittsburgh Steelers T-shirt that Dylan Mlinarich wore at St. Edward's practice Tuesday only seemed appropriate.
"I was brainwashed when from the time I was really young," said Mlinarich, the Green Wave quarterback. "I'm a Ben Roethlisberger fan, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell."
Mlinarich, a junior left-hander, is only a generation removed from western Pennsylvania. His father Jeff moved to Illinois from the Pittsburgh area.
It's a somewhat long-distance connection. But Dylan Mlinarich's roots are from the hotbed of quarterbacks like Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Unitas and Joe Namath.
"My dad joked about moving us back to Pennsylvania and sending me to (Pittsburgh's) Central Catholic High," Mlinarich said.
It was only a comment, and no need for Green Wave coach Mike Rolando to begin worrying.
With Mlinarich throwing to Saveon Smith, David Madden, Tyler Holte, Ryan Pomeroy and Jimmy Harkins, St. Edward (4-0) dominated three straight opponents. The big step comes Friday in a showdown at home with IC Catholic (4-0).
Mlinarich threw seven touchdown passes in back-to-back wins over Lindblom and Walther Christian, then four in last week's 50-0 victory over Guerin.
According to IHSA records, only nine other Illinois quarterbacks have thrown more than seven TD passes in a game. Nine is the record by Morris' Bobby Brayton in 1949 and Greenville's Tyler Hutchinson in 2014.
"I hear about records, but it doesn't really matter to me," Mlinarich said. "I'm focused on the next game we're playing.
"Records are records and you may have them, then they're gone. But I'm thinking about wins."
Mlinarich is 66-for-115 for 1,179 yards and 20 touchdowns with four interceptions. He's distributed the ball well, as Smith has six TD catches, Harkins four and Holte, Pomeroy and Madden three each.
"Dylan has plenty of weapons and he delivers the ball nicely," Rolando said. "He has different style receivers, but the common thing is they all have good hands and run excellent routes."
Knowing that the passing game would fuel the team for the next two years, Rolando tweaked the offense during 7-on-7s. He moved Mlinarich back a few steps when taking the shotgun snap.
"It especially helps because I have more time to get the ball out and check my reads," Mlinarich said.
Rolando, a quarterback himself for one of Larkin's greatest teams in 1990, knew what this could mean.
"If we do happen to miss a block or get only part of a block, he's a little deeper," Rolando said. "Looking back over the years, if we only had another half-second for some of our quarterbacks. … I still have memories of where we could have made plays or won games."
Mlinarich is likely to need any edge Friday against IC Catholic, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. Led by NIU recruit Jordan Rowell, IC Catholic last year beat St. Edward 41-6 in Mlinarich's fourth game at quarterback.
"It was pretty tough," Mlinarich said. "I was hit a lot. They got to us really well. Their linebackers and pass rush were strong, physical.
"We believe we learned from our mistakes."
Rowell, a running back, will pose a challenge for St. Edward's defense.
"It's a big-time difference going from a team at the level we've played the last few weeks to at team like IC," said Madden, who also plays in St. Edward's secondary. "To stop Jordan Rowell, you've got to go low and hopefully your teammates will join in. It's got to be a team effort.
"He tore us up last year."
This game begins a significant step up for St. Edward in Metro Suburban Blue play.
"From here on out we've got this team and then the other schools are two, three or four times our size, so it's going to be a rough road," Rolando said. "But our kids are tough.
"We're down to 22 players now after losing Nick Wright (broken arm). Our kids are going to do their best. They always play with a ton of heart."
What to watch: NIU recruit Jordan Rowell powers IC Catholic (4-0), ranked No. 1 in 3A, against St. Edward (4-0) and linebackers Ben Harrington and Angel Garcia in a Metro Suburban Blue opener.
St. Edward has easy time with Guerin
September 17, 2016
By Jared Birchfield Daily Herald Correspondent
Photo by Brian Hill
It was all St. Edward during its 50-0 Metro Suburban crossover win over Guerin Friday night at Greg True Field in Elgin.
The Green Wave scored on 6 of 9 drives -- 5 of 6 in the first half -- and held the Guerin offense to a total of 3 yards.
The victory raises St. Edward's record to 4-0.
The Green Wave's first possession of the game was the only one in the first half that did not end with a touchdown.
Sophomore running back Angel Garcia score the team's first TD on its second drive of the game -- a 1-yard plunge with 5:49 left in the first quarter. Garcia was once again the workhorse for St. Edward's ground game, rushing for 87 yards on 7 carries.
"We were a little unfocused on the first drive," said St. Edward coach Mike Rolando. "Luckily Angel got us going with the running game and then we were on our way, everybody got into rhythm."
The Green Wave's passing game took over from there. On the team's next drive, quarter back Dylan Mlinarich connected with James Harkins for a 1-yard scoring pass.
Mlinarich completed 10 of 14 passes for 110 yards, all in the first half. Backup QB Jordan West directed the team in the second half.
The defense ended the first quarter scoring. After a Guerin fumble, linebacker Daniel Falco recovered the ball and raced 19 yards for the score.
All 3 second quarter touchdowns were on passing plays. Fifty-six seconds into the second half, Ryan Pomeroy (3 receptions for 38 yards) caught Mlinarich's 23-yard pass for a TD. On the Green Wave's next drive, it was receiver David Madden's turn, crossing the goal line on a 20-yarder. Tyler Holte completed the first half scoring on a 9-yard pass.
St. Edward led 44-0 at the half.
With a running clock, the Green Wave ran only three drives in the second half. West scored the final TD on a 58-yard run in the third quarter.
Guerin (0-3) couldn't get its offense on track. The Crusaders crossed into Green Wave territory on three possessions, two in the second half and never penetrated the red zone.
St. Edward will have its work cut out for it next Friday, when it opens its Metro Suburban Blue conference schedule by hosting IC Catholic, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A.
St. Edward figures offensive explosion will continue
The St. Edward football team's two-week trend of decimating lesser secondaries seems likely to continue on homecoming this Friday.
The Green Wave return to Greg True Field with a 3-0 record for the second time in three seasons, thanks largely to a passing attack responsible for 754 of their 1,052 total yards in wins over Lindblom (50-14) and Walther Lutheran (63-8), both winless.
In his last 2 games, junior quarterback Dylan Mlinarich has completed 45 of 72 passes for 754 yards and 14 touchdowns.
The left-handed Mlinarich is spreading the opportunities among his receivers. Junior Saveon Smith, who this week announced on social media he will visit Illinois this weekend, paced the group in Weeks 2 and 3 with 10 receptions for 233 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Smith leads a talented group that includes senior Jimmy Harkins (9 rec., 188 yards, 2 TD) and juniors David Madden (8-156-2), Ryan Pomeroy (5-141-2) and Tyler Holte (9-87-2).
St. Edward should face little resistance for a third straight game when Guerin (0-3) visits at 7 p.m. The Crusaders have been outscored 105-0.
Guerin began the season with 20 players on its published roster, but attrition has taken a toll. The Crusaders trailed Fenton 26-0 at halftime of last week's game, but the second half was played with a running clock because Guerin was down to the minimum of 11 available players.
For perspective, Fenton entered that matchup 0-2 after losing its first 2 games by a combined score of 73-0.
While lopsided games are good for morale and can help a team find its rhythm, it's questionable whether such blowouts are good preparation for a high-level opponent like the one St. Edward faces next week in old rival IC Catholic Prep. The Knights (3-0) are the top-ranked team in Class 3A.
St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said winning noncompetitive games by such lopsided margins may not be the optimal way to prepare for a team like IC, but the light schedule leading into what could be their most physical game of the season should benefit his players from a health standpoint.
The Green Wave entered the season with 22 players on the roster, but they are down to 21 and can't afford more injuries. Sophomore Nick Wright broke his arm in two places during the Lindblom game two weeks ago when he was stepped on. Five junior varsity players suit up with the varsity on Saturdays.
"We're very thin, so we need to keep our guys healthy," Rolando said. "While you want to be battle tested, at the same time, if we lose two guys, we become a totally different football team. When Nick goes down we have to bring up a sophomore to play linebacker and we're just not quite as strong. "We're not going to get any more or less physical in the next two weeks. These kids have been playing football for a long time. When we get to IC it's going to be a physical battle and the kids know that. From year to year, kids from both schools look forward to it. It's a tough game. That's why (Saturday) you saw a lot of jerseys coming on and coming of the field so we could get out of there healthy, and that's a good thing."
St. Edward's Dylan Mlinarich does a repeat performance in easy victory
September 12, 2016
St. Edward quarterback Dylan Mlinarich gets good protection as he completes a long pass during a 63-8 victory Saturday over Walther Christian. (Jon Langham / The Courier-News)
It's a sign how advanced St. Edward's passing attack is when quarterback Dylan Mlinarich can throw seven touchdown passes for a second straight week and express dissatisfaction.
It's also a sign he knows how to keep a stable of receivers happy when five different players catch those TD passes.
Mlinarich threw for 354 yards, completing 15 of 26 passes, Saturday and the Green Wave throttled up quickly em route to a 63-8 road win over Walther Christian.
"We've got more work to get done," Mlinarich said. "We need to be more sound and crisper on the routes.
"I just have to calm down because I know my wide receivers and O-line are going to do their (jobs)."
Mlinarich, a junior left-hander, threw seven TD passes to help St. Edward (3-0) beat Lindblom 50-14 the previous week.
The Green Wave led Walther (0-3) 49-0 by halftime.
"There's some things on our side of the ball that we need to tighten up," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "I think Dylan would be the first to admit it. He had a good game. But he wants to have great games.
"For us to beat some great teams that are on our schedule down the road, we're going to have to play great games."
The TD passes started 40 seconds into the game with a 6-yarder to Saveon Smith, the first of three the pair connected on before Smith left with leg cramps at halftime. Smith had four catches for 113 yards.
"Coach is having us work on perfect timing," Smith said. "Dylan has been working pretty hard, and if we keep up that effort and get the blocking, we feel like we can get even better than we were today."
Smith also made 52-yard and 55-yard TD catches.
"Football instincts pretty much," Smith said. "Dylan got me the ball in space so I had a lot of time to make a move."
The other TD passes went for 3 yards to Tyler Holte, 2 yards to David Madden, 47 yards to Ryan Pomeroy and 5 yards to Jimmy Harkins.
Madden celebrated his birthday with five catches for 112 yards.
"We're all equally talented, and depending on how crisp we run our routes Dylan can just pick who he wants to throw to every time," Madden said. "With that many receivers we sometimes run 30 routes in a game and get only two catches.
"As long as the team wins, you're happy about it."
St. Edward showed an alternative to the pass with 103 rushing yards on 12 carries and a TD from Angel Garcia.
"The goal now is to get better and beat Guerin (Friday)," Rolando said. "After that, we have quite a few strong teams to deal with."
If sevens are lucky, St. Edward quarterback Dylan Mlinarich was the luckiest man in Melrose Park Saturday.
The St. Edward junior quarterback threw 7 touchdown passes for the second game in a row as the Green Wave improved to 3-0 by trouncing winless Walther Christian 63-8 at Fran Fanelli, Jr. Memorial Football Field.
video St. Edward blows out Walther
The 6-foot-2, 189-pound left-hander saw open receivers everywhere he looked as St. Edward scored 7 touchdowns in the first half alone.
"I'm very surprised but I look forward to doing this. I work for this all off-season," Mlinarich said of 16 touchdown passes in 3 games. "The O-line did an amazing job, the wide receivers ran great routes and coach Ro (Mike Rolando), amazing play calling."
Junior Saveon Smith hauled in 4 receptions, including touchdowns of 6, 52 and 55 yards.
"I'm excited. I'm happy we're 3-0," said Smith, who said he'll be fine after he reached for his left hamstring at the end of a 55-yard touchdown catch-and-run. "In the off-season we work real hard with each other, run routes, all that, practice hard. I'm proud of my team and the accomplishments that we're doing right now."
Mlinarich completed 15 of 26 passes for 358 yards without an interception or sack. Like Smith, all his top targets were fellow juniors: David Madden (5 rec., 117 yards, TD), Tyler Holte (3 rec., 49 yards, TD) and Ryan Pomeroy, whose 53-yard scoring catch just before halftime made it 49-0.
Tailback Angel Garcia contributed 90 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in 13 attempts to help the Green Wave amass 487 total yards.
Garcia, a Melrose Park native who lived five minutes from Fanelli Field until his family moved to Elgin when he was a sixth-grader, was also key on defense, rotating at middle linebacker with sophomore Sidney Muhammad. He was part of a Green Wave defense that limited the Broncos to 42 total yards.
In fact, Walther Christian's offense was in negative yardage until it mounted a 58-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes against St. Edward reserves.
"They came out and did what we asked them to do: play hard from the get go, whoever we had in there," Rolando said of his players. "We had some freshmen and sophomores in there the whole second half and they all played hard. I thought our intensity was good in the first half. We don't want the kids to come down and play at another level because of who we're playing."
Football MVPs: St. Edward's Mlinarch, Vernon Hills' Smith win Week 2 awards
September 8, 2016
St. Edward junior quarterback Dylan Mlinarch and Vernon Hills senior linebacker Chick Smith have earned Daily Herald MVP honors for their efforts in Week 2 of the high school football season.
Dylan Mlinarch, St. Edward: This 6-foot-2, 189-pound junior enjoyed the kind of game quarterbacks dream about in a 50-14 home win vs. Lindblom. The second-year varsity signalcaller completed 30 of 49 pass attempts to nine different receivers for 495 yards and 7 touchdowns to help the Green Wave improve to 2-0.
Darreontae Jackson, St. Viator: The senior running back keyed a bounce-back win for the Lions in the biggest of ways. He rushed for 262 yards on just 14 carries, with scoring runs of 92 and 55 yards as St. Viator rolled past St. Francis 39-7.
Aidan O'Connell, Stevenson: The senior quarterback made his team's long bus ride to Michigan worthwhile. He threw for a school-record 447 yards and 4 touchdowns on 36-of-51 passing, helping the Patriots edge Muskegon 38-35 for their first win of the season.
Jordan Rowell, IC Catholic Prep: The Northern Illinois recruit scored 5 touchdowns, and the Knights needed them in a 63-49 win over St. Laurence. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound running back ran for 260 yards, 4 touchdowns; he caught 5 passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. The senior's long plays were a 67-yard run and a 63-yard reception.
Mlinarich's big night propels St. Edward
September 3, 2016
By Scott Miller Daily Herald Correspondent
It was quite a welcome home celebration for the St. Edward football team on Friday night and quarterback Dylan Mlinarich was the life of the party.
The junior did in one night what some quarterbacks hope to do in an entire season as he threw for 465 yards and 7 touchdowns in a 50-14 Green Wave win over visiting Lindblom. It was the first game at Greg True Stadium in nearly a year after a groundskeeping mishap the second week of last season destroyed the grass. The Wave also opened this year with a win on the road in Florida.
Mlinarich completed 29-of-45 passes to 8 different receivers. He threw only 1 interception and the offensive line didn't allow a single sack.
"What an unbelievable game but I certainly didn't do this alone," Mlinarich said. "My teammates were amazing. The offensive line just played incredible. I had a lot of time to throw. Those guys were just great. And the receivers were fantastic. They ran really crisp routes and were getting open all night. They have really put in the time and effort at practice to get our timing down and it really showed tonight. What a great way to return home. An amazing feeling."
Mlinarich struggled in the humidity in Florida last week when he threw 3 interceptions, but he was on target Friday.
"Last week was kind of a fluke for him," St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. "He just had a tough time getting a grip on the ball in the humidity down there. This is more of what we expected because he has been fantastic in the off season. he has put in a lot of work. Tonight he was right on point and executed the offense the way we know he can. I also can't say enough about our offensive line and receivers. They played incredible. It was just a great all around win."
Mlinarich's first 2 touchdown passes went to Saveon Smith on plays of 21 and 30 yards. On the second score Smith took a short pass in the right flat and turned it into a touchdown with a nifty move to spin past 2 defenders.
Tyler Holte had the most receptions for the Green Wave with 7 for 49 yards. His 1-yard touchdown grab with less than a minute in the first half made it 23-14 in favor of the Green Wave at halftime.
St. Edward (2-0) broke it open in the second half with 4 touchdowns. For the second week in a row James Harkins was the leading pass receiver in yards with 146 on 6 catches. He had a 41-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
"Dylan was amazing but I also want to give a shout out to our offensive line," Harkins said. "We can't put up numbers like this without them doing a great job up front. It was amazing feeling to be back home and get a win like this."
Ryan Pomeroy (8 yards), David Madden (18 yards), and Jake Frey (32 yards) also had touchdown receptions in the second half.
The Green Wave managed to overcome 17 penalties for 146 yards. Angel Garcia added 66 yards on 17 rushes.