By: John Nee '93
Although it was only the 1st week of classes on 77th and Western Avenue, the fall sports' season was in full swing as the "Kicking" Mustangs soccer team and the "Fighting" Mustangs football team were in action.
The varsity football team travelled to Joliet to battle the 13-time Illinois state champion Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers in what was a difficult road test to begin the 2018 season.
The Mustangs came out fast as the defense forced a punt on the Hilltoppers' first possession setting up the offense for a short field. A 12-yard gain on their first play from scrimmage on a Tahrhon Haynes run took the Stangs deep into JCA territory. Senior quarterback Hayden Ekern then hit Haynes on a 16-yard pass setting up senior Jake Stefanski's 3-yard touchdown run and an early 7-0 lead for the Mustangs.
Joliet Catholic would score the next 20 points to take a 20-7 lead into the halftime locker room, and the Mustangs would fall short in their season opener 30-20 to the Hilltoppers despite the efforts of senior captains Ekern (18-30, 257yds, 1 TD) and Stefanski (7 catches, 117yds and 4 rushes 21yds, 1 TD).
The sophomore football team came-from-behind to defeat Joliet Catholic 19-16 on the strength of a late touchdown run by Kyle James. The freshmen were defeated by the Hilltoppers 42-35 in their home opener Saturday morning.
The varsity soccer team started quickly in their season opener against Richards scoring twice in the first half to take a quick 2-0 lead before weather forced the game to be postponed until October 4th.
In their CCL opener against DePaul Prep, the "Kicking" Mustangs settled for a hard-fought 1-1 tie on the road as the Rams found the net late in the contest to force the draw.
The Mustangs came back strong on Thursday, defeating Rich East 8-0 behind 2 goal each from junior Langston Bedgood and sophomore Chuy Flores, and on Saturday St. Rita notched their first big win of the season beating Public League power Juarez 4-3. Goalie Dave Bauer recorded 8 saves in the net for the Mustangs and Kenya Sumter scored the game-winning goal with 10 minutes to play.
The sophomore soccer team beat Richards 3-2 and lost a tough match to Juarez 2-1.
Be on the lookout for Mustang Sports Weekly every Monday as we recap all the action in St. Rita sports for the week.