Mount Carmel High School has claimed its 15th football state championship title after trouncing Downers Grove North with a decisive 35-10 victory. This spectacular win cemented their place in the Illinois high school football pantheon, tying them with Joliet Catholic Academy for the crown of most state titles—a jaw-dropping accolade that had fans roaring and naysayers eating crow. A pep rally on Wednesday in the school's gym set the scene for a celebration worthy of champions, giving a new definition to school spirit.
As coaches and students reveled in their glorious moment, a misstep in phrasing made by the head coach, Jordan Lynch, who happens to be a Mount Carmel alumnus and former Chicago Bear, indicated parents might want to take some credit here too. "We spent more time with your kids than you guys do yourselves," he reportedly said, according to the Chicago Tribune. Gratitude to the parental units was, of course, implied, but Lynch was quick to spotlight the sacrifices the young athletes made en route to their stunning achievement.
The real MVP seemed to be Darrion Dupree, Mount Carmel's four-star running back, whose gridiron feats are nearly the stuff of legend and have already snagged him a spot at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Without missing a beat, fifth Ward Ald. Desmon Yancy, representing Mount Carmel and the neighboring community, seized the chance to recognize the school's undeniable prowess. "They've figured out something around success. I’d love to be able to replicate and support," Yancy, a graduate of the nearby Kenwood Academy High School, excitedly exclaimed in an interview featured by the Tribune.
While the team bit their tongues, recalling a singular blemish in their near-perfect record—a loss to Loyola Academy that seemed to still sting like a fresh wound—they stood proud amid their triumph. Coach Lynch bragged with a misplaced modifier, "We have the best coaches in the state of Illinois, even the country," showing a loyalty that could make a knight envious, "I’d take this group over everyone." Whether or not his coaches can be transported over entire groups of people wasn't clear, but the sentiment resonated with roars of approval from the crowd, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In a testament to hard work, Principal Scott Tabernacki reminded everyone that trophies don't just happen; they're wrought from sweat and determination. And perhaps that's the real takeaway from Mount Carmel's stunning string of victories: not just the shine of the silverware but the grit and grind that forged it. As foxes are cunning, so is the caravan. "All those days in the summer, in the heat, having to get up at 5 a.m., that’s the work," Tabernacki said with the sharp clarity of a morning bell.