If the Fenwick High School football team makes the playoffs this season, Friday’s 38-19 win against DePaul Prep at Lane Stadium in Chicago likely will be remembered as the turning point. After a 1-3 start to the season, Fenwick notched the victory they needed thanks in large part to a stellar performance by junior quarterback Jacob Keller. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
“I really studied the film and took what the defense gave me,” Keller said. “One of their corners was bailing on some of the plays. I kind of attacked him to see what he was doing and got past him to hit my receivers.”
The Friars scored first via Keller’s 3-yard TD pass to junior tight end Jack Henige with 7:48 left in the first quarter. The play capped off a 57-yard opening drive for Fenwick. Henige finished the game with 70 yards on four receptions and had two TDs.
“There was nothing going through my mind on my two touchdown catches,” Henige said. “I saw Jake roll out and when he threw the ball in the air I just knew I could catch it. That’s what I had to do.”
Wide receiver Sherman Martin had three catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Will Lattner led the Friars in rushing with 103 yards on 16 carries.
Defensively, Patrick Kenny recorded a team-high 6.5 tackles plus a deflected pass, while Joe Garibotti had 4.5 tackles. Brian Doyle picked off two passes for the Friars. Marty Stein had a sack. Patrick Rafferty (3.5 tackles) and Brett Moorman (3 tackles) also contributed.
De Paul Prep (4-1) kept things interesting for a while when they scored two consecutive touchdowns, the first coming late in the first quarter on an 80-yard run Umaru Sheriff, and the second coming early in the second quarter when quarterback Jonathan Gladstone connected with Jahi Stigall on a 43-yard pass. DePaul Prep missed the PAT after the second TD, allowing Fenwick to maintain a 14-13 advantage with 10:59 to go in the second quarter.
The Friars capped off their scoring with a 40-yard TD pass from Keller to Martin, extending the Friars advantage to 38-19 lead with 4:01 remaining in the third quarter.
“I knew Sherman (Martin) could get past the defense,” Keller said. “So I just looked for him and threw it up to him.”
While there’s still plenty of room for improvement and several must-win games remaining on the schedule, the Friars earned an important victory against the scrappy Rams in a Chicago Catholic League crossover.
“The win was huge for sure,” Henige said. “We really needed it and now we’re back on track. We’ve got a lot of the season ahead of us and we’re headed in the right direction.”
An intense week of practice aided the Friars’ focus.
“Coming off of a huge loss to Loyola (Sept. 19), everyone was mad and came to practice working hard,” Keller said. “Practice was really chippy this week. We were waiting to show another team what we’ve got and that’s what we did today.”
Fenwick (2-3, 0-1) hosts Marmion (2-3, 0-1) on Saturday at Morton West in a Chicago Catholic League Green Division matchup. Kickoff is 1 p.m.