While disappointed to lose to Morgan Park 14-6 Oct. 29 in the first round of the IHSA Class 5A playoffs, the Fenwick High School football team would be glad to win this year’s Chicago Prep Bowl championship, which would be the fifth in program history and its first since 2010.
The Friars took the first step towards that goal Nov. 10 with a 27-0 shutout of De La Salle at Triton College in a Chicago Catholic League Playoff semifinal.
Junior Marek Hill started at quarterback for Fenwick and had a solid evening, completing 13 of 22 passes for 188 yards and adding a 22-yard touchdown run.
“I’ve been preparing for it all season,” Hill said. “The coaches did a good job with the game plan and made stuff simple.”
The Friars received the opening kickoff and went 70 yards in 11 plays for the game’s first score as Luke D’Alise (13 carries, 74 yards) powered his way into the end zone from 2 yards out. The two-point conversion failed, keeping the score 6-0 Fenwick at the 8:15 mark of the opening quarter.
Avion Brown intercepted De La Salle quarterback Amarye Howard (6-of-21, 56 yards) on the next drive and returned the ball to the Meteors’ 35. Three plays later, the Friars cashed in when Hill scored on a 22-yard keeper. Luis Avalos added the first of his three point-afters to make the score 13-0.
Late in the half, Fenwick went on a 13-play, 89-yard march capped by Mirko Jaksic’s 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. It was the defensive lineman’s second touchdown of the season.
“I got the ball and ran as hard as I could,” Jaksic said. “I always dreamed of scoring touchdowns and I’m happy I accomplished it.”
The Friars concluded the scoring with a 10-play, 72-yard drive that carried over into the fourth quarter. The big play was Hill’s 37-yard completion to Andrew Bjornson that set up Ninos Ameer’s 7-yard touchdown run with 11:24 left.
Ameer had 66 yards on 13 carries while Hill had 37 yards on four carries. Dennis Moore had four receptions for 55 yards and Elijah Romeus three catches for 35 yards as Fenwick’s offense amassed 392 yards.
Defensively, Jaksic had five tackles and shared a sack with Conor Stetz. Jack Braithwaite also had a sack as the Friars held De La Salle to 119 yards of total offense.
“We had a lot of young guys jump in on defense, “ Fenwick coach Matt Battaglia said. “They knew what they doing and played hard.”
Fenwick meets St. Laurence, which defeated St. Patrick 39-7 in the other semifinal, for the Catholic League championship. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 17, with the winner facing either Simeon or Taft in the Prep Bowl.