Who’s Martez Wilson?
The state’s No. 1 college football prospect was overshadowed by Fenwick quarterback Brien Rooney on Saturday as Rooney led the Friars to a 37-28 win over Wilson’s team, Simeon, in the season opener at the Chicago High School Football Classic held at Solider Field.
Rooney and the Friars virtually made Wilson, a 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound wide out and defensive end who is a consensus top 30 national prospect, a non-threat from the kickoff. The final score was no indication of Fenwick’s dominance throughout the first half and well into the third quarter. The Friars led by as many as five touchdowns at one point in the game.
After Simeon drove 70 yards in eight plays to score on its first possession, Rooney answered with a 21-yard scamper that ended with the three-year starter taking a hit midair as he leapt headfirst into the end zone. The missed extra-point left the game at 6-6, but the Friars soon took the lead for good.
On the first play of Simeon’s second possession, Austin Gordon picked off a pass by quarterback Jack Ramsey and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown. Pat Mulhern’s extra-point split the uprights and put Fenwick up 13-6 with 4:31 left in the first quarter.
Rooney, who in a loss to Hubbard last season at Soldier Field suffered a concussion in the second play of the game yet still managed to finish the first half, scored again in the second quarter. The senior rushed for 27 of the team’s 44 yards in one possession, including a 10-yard up-the-middle romp that resulted in Fenwick’s third touchdown of the first half.
Mike Downey’s sack of Ramsey with less than five minutes to go in the half led to another Fenwick touchdown. The Friars ended the scoring in the first half up 27-6 when Rooney found Pat Doyle on a 26-yard touchdown pass, followed by a Rooney-to-Doyle completion for the 2-point conversion. Rooney had scrambled to the far side of the field to find Doyle alone in the end zone.
“Brien just had a look in his eye,” said Fenwick head coach Joe DiCanio. “He seemed determined to make up for being hurt last year at Soldier Field. He did a great job.”
Rooney finished the night with 107 yards rushing, 77 of which came in the first half. Wilson had just two catches for 53 yards in the first half.
Fenwick’s Colin Tobin opened the third quarter with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the longest return for a TD in Classic history.
Mulhern’s 26-yard field goal-setup by Matt Bryks’ interception of Ramsey-put the Friars up 37-6.
The Wolverines exploded for 22 unanswered points late in the game but it wasn’t enough for a comeback. Wilson finished with six catches for 200 yards.
“I think we got a little complacent with eight minutes to go,” said DiCanio. “But I’d like to give the guys the benefit of the doubt and say they may have emptied their gas tank by that point.
“Overall, they played exceptionally well against a real good team. To win that first game is always important.”
The Friars host Gordon Tech on Saturday at Morton West with a new start time of 1:30 p.m.