By Marty Farmer
After a much-needed win against Leo in Week 4, Fenwick High School football coach Gene Nudo said, "Our men continue to fight as any Friar would."
The Friars' fighting spirit certainly was on full display during a 28-27 comeback win in overtime against St. Laurence on Friday, Sept. 28 at Triton College in River Grove.
In the first quarter, Nate Thomas opened the scoring on a 65-yard run to give St. Laurence a 6-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Vikings' Logan Cleary recovered a fumble at the Fenwick 26-yard line. St. Laurence (2-4, 1-1 CCL Green) capitalized on the turnover when Thomas scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard plunge into the end zone. Rodney Quinn's PAT extended the lead to 13-0.
Thomas accounted for all four touchdowns the Vikings scored against Fenwick. The talented sophomore running back rushed for 227 yards and a TD on 34 carries in a 27-26 loss against Chicago Hope Academy in a CCL crossover in Week 5 action.
Despite Thomas' stellar performance, Fenwick rallied with timely plays on offense, defense and special teams in the second half.
Trailing 21-14 with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, the Friars made their move. Junior quarterback Danny Cronin threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Mitch Lopez with 33 seconds left. Kicker Bryan Dowd made the extra point to tie the score at 21-all
In overtime, Cronin scored on a 12-yard run to put the Friars ahead 28-21. The Vikings responded with a touchdown; however, the Friars' stuffed a gutsy 2-point conversion attempt by St. Laurence to seal their inspired 28-27 victory on Homecoming.
Defensive lineman Konrad Skowyra made the play of the game, which largely sparked the Friars' resurgence. The senior standout blocked Liam McCarthy's punt and scooped up the ball en route to a 71-yard return for a touchdown.
The clutch play gave Fenwick its first lead of the game, 14-13. Skowyra, one of the team's top two-way players, finished the game with seven tackles as well.
While the Friars (2-4, 1-1 Chicago Catholic League Green) didn't post impressive stats offensively, they made enough big plays to pull out the win. Making his return start after a knee injury sidelined him against De La Salle, Cronin completed 6 of 15 passes for 57 yards, highlighted by his aforementioned TD toss to Lopez. He added a pair of rushing touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime.
As he has done all season, Lopez earned hard yards on the ground with 79 yards on 17 carries. Marcus Wright contributed four catches for 46 yards.
Several players led the Friars defensively, including Max Forst (7 tackles), Tim Carey (3.5 tackles) and Jared Perry (interception).
After an 0-3 start, Fenwick has won two of three games. A postseason appearance remains possible if the Friars run the table with three straight victories to close out the regular season.
Unfortunately, powerhouse teams like Montini and Mount Carmel are upcoming opponents.
Regardless, the Friars have shown signs of progress and will focus on one game at a time.
Fenwick hosts Montini on Friday, Oct. 5. Then, Fenwick plays its final home game the following week on Friday, Oct. 12 against Marmion Academy.
Both games at TritonCollege in River Grove start at 7:30 p.m.
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