A fumble on your first possession isn't a great way to start a football game, but Fenwick was able to overcome a troubling bout with "sloppiness" to slip past De La Salle 28-17 last weekend.
De La Salle took advantage of the Friars' miscue by scoring a touchdown just eight seconds into Saturday's Catholic League (Blue) match-up.
"It was sloppiness on our part that led to that touchdown," said Fenwick head coach Joe DiCanio. "It's not the best way to kick-off a football game."
Kendrick Crump, the original fumble culprit, redeemed himself in the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown blast. Pat Mulhern's extra point put the game even at 7-7.
De La Salle briefly took the lead again after an interception runback for a touchdown. The Friars didn't hang their heads long. Dan Mega punched in from three yards out, followed by a Brien Rooney to Eric Bradley screen pass that resulted in a 65-yard TD. The Friars took a 20-14 advantage into halftime.
Crump's ballhandling troubles reemerged in the third. The senior running back broke free for a 47-yard run only to fumble on De La Salle's 3-yard line. But the bad karma seemed to be with both teams as De La Salle fumbled in its own end zone. Fenwick's Pat Doyle recovered for the safety. Rooney hit Bradley on a quick slant for the 2-point conversion.
Despite the mishaps, DiCanio was grateful to have his team intact again. Star linebacker Dan Walsh returned to action against De La Salle after suffering a severe shoulder injury two weeks ago.
"It was good to see the defense holding things down for us," said DiCanio. "Guys like Jim Quaid, Evan Pincham and Jack Finan really stepped up their play."
Fenwick's defense racked up eight sacks for a loss of 53 yards, and held De La Salle to a mere 42 yards on the ground.
Things don't get any easier for the Friars in the upcoming weeks. The bulk of the Blue Division awaits, with No. 3-ranked Mt. Carmel the capper at the end of the regular season (Oct. 22 at St. Laurence High School).
DiCanio said he anticipates the results of the next three games to be a "telling sign" of his team. "This is crunch time and we are playing three tough teams. We just need to get over the hump."
The Friars host Providence for their Homecoming this Sunday at Oak Park Stadium. Kick-off is 1:30 p.m.
De La Salle 17
Mount Carmel 3-0 6-0
Brother Rice 3-1 5-1
St. Rita 3-1 5-1
Fenwick 1-2 3-3
Loyola 1-2 3-3
Providence 1-2 3-3
De La Salle 0-4 2-4