Season ends for gritty Friars

Team unable to hold off second half rushing surge

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By BRAD SPENCER

Brother Rice 18
Fenwick 13

The Fenwick football team will have to wait until next season's opener against Simeon to play at Soldier Field again.

The team's quest to return this season to the field nestled between the historic colonnades fell short on Friday night when defending Prep Bowl champ Brother Rice (10-3) edged the Friars 18-13 to win the Catholic League championship.

The Friars (6-7), who opened this season with a loss to Hubbard at Soldier Field, fell victim to Brother Rice's bruising run-game. Led by Austin McDonough (131 yards rushing, 2 TDs), the Crusaders came from behind twice in the second half to upend Fenwick, who showed its grit against the Catholic League powerhouse.

The Friars held Brother Rice to a mere 6-0 lead at half, and came back to lead 13-12 in the fourth quarter. Crusaders quarterback Tim Evans hit McDonough for a 26-yard TD to in the final minutes to cap the victory.

Fenwick took a 7-6 lead in the third quarter when Brien Rooney hit Eric Bradley on an 89-yard TD pass. McDonough scampered in for a 25-yard TD on the Crusaders' next possession. Due to a failed two-point attempt, Brother Rice led 12-7.

The Friars were granted a second chance when Dan Mega (130 yards, 19 carries) had a 2-yard TD plunge early in the final quarter called back on a penalty, and Brother Rice eventually took over on downs. But Brother Rice fumbled on the next possession, and Fenwick capitalized on the turnover when Mega bolted in for a 9-yard TD, putting his team up 13-12.

Brother Rice responded with a 10-play drive that resulted in McDonough's TD catch.

Fenwick was knocked out of the Prep Bowl playoffs last season by Brother Rice, who also downed its catholic rival this season 41-25 on Sept. 25.

The Friars, who last won a Prep Bowl championship in 1991, are expected to return Rooney, Jack Finan, Mega, Dan Walsh, Austin Gordon and Kendrick Crump next season.

Contact: bspencer@wjinc.com

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