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Class 6A State Finals
Mundelein (Carmel) (13-0) vs.Bloomington (HS)(13-0)

Nov. 29th 1pm @ U of I Memorial Stadium

Mundelein (Carmel):
head coach Andy Bitto's motto for the season is "Unfinished Business" and you'd better believe that just making it to Champaign wasn't want his team had in mind. They won't take care of business unless they take home the hardware this year.

Bitto said earlier in the season that the "Business" referred to several things. "Beating Joliet Catholic was one of them" a feat the team hadn't done since the late 1970's "and winning the State Finals instead of the Prep Bowl" was the other.

With two year starting QB Mark Venegoni, it's no surprise that the Corsairs have made the finals, as many state wide polls have had them sitting in the number one spot since the preseason, but now is the time that they will have to prove themselves and whether or not they deserve that number one spot after week 14.

Offensively it's no question that the Corsairs live and have yet to die by the pass this season. With a line made up of the likes of Paul Lyons (sr. OT 6'1 210), Drew Cairo-Gross (sr. OG 6'3 295), Eddie Adamski (jr. C 6'3 215), Luke Krombach (sr. OG 6'4 255) & Dan Osterhout (sr. OT 6'2 280) it no big shock that Venegoni has passed for 1629 yards, along with another 782 on the ground as he leads the Corsairs with 17 TDs.

But while defenses will be focusing on Venegoni's arms & legs, senior fullback Jon Popovitch will come smashing through behind those huge linemen just like a throw back to the days of Bronco Negurski & Red Grange. While small for a fullback, his 6.7 yard average isn't. His 15 TDs is second to Venegoni's mark.

Mark Venegoni has plenty of time to get off his passes, even against the huge "D" line of 5A Finalist Joliet Catholic.

While not as over powering as the Corsair's offense the defense is by no means shabby. Many teams wouldn't mind only giving up an average of 14 points a game. Especially when you're outscoring your opponent by 28 points like Carmel is. While the Corsairs defense will need all of their speed to keep up with the Bloomington offense, an early lead could help Carmel tremendously as their oversized line will most likely have packed on extra pounds over the holiday weekend and will be able to push their way down field and eat up some valuable time.

Carmel Varsity Roster & Starters

Bloomington (HS):
While the 2002 6A Runner ups make their way back to the state finals, they have one big monkey off their backs. That monkey would be their dismal record against private school teams.

The Purple Raiders have been knock out of the playoffs every time they've faced a private school contender. Until last weeks victory over heavily favoredChicago (St. Rita). Bloomington was a dismal 9-0 until last week. Granted they've lost to the likes of Illinois powerhousesChicago (Mt. Carmel),Joliet (Catholic),New Lenox (Providence)& Springfield (S.H.G.) .

Coaches will always say that each year is a new season and each year a team forms it's own identity and with any luck this Raiders team will use last weeks victory to springboard over emerging catholic powerhouse Mundelein (Carmel).

Bloomington is going to basics with this team. For every three running plays they drop back and put it in the air. While such a simple game plan may not see to be the things of state championship teams, when you have a James Wade & Justin Harrison in the backfield averaging 9 yards a carry. Along side them you have Brandon Hughes, using every inch of his 5'11 164 lbs frame to jump up and bring down anything thrown to him. Hughes is no slouch either, his 32 yard average on receptions comes mostly after he's caught the ball.

Harrison get's in on the action on defense as well. Where he also likes to spend time in the backfield, but in this case it's mostly for yardage going against his opponents as he leads the team with 127 tackles, 20 of which are sacks.

Bloomington Roster & Starters




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