MOUNT CARMEL ― Mount Carmel and Breese Mater Dei appear to have similar records coming into Friday's non-conference football game at Riverview Stadium.
The Golden Aces (0-3) celebrate homecoming by hosting the Knights (1-2), two teams struggling to find victories one-third of the way through the IHSA regular season.
Mount Carmel has begun a season with three straight losses for the first time since 1950, but has been close in every one of its games. Only 12 points separate the 63 points the Golden Aces have scored and the 75 points they have allowed. MCHS has faced three foes with a combined record of 6-5.
Mater Dei has been shutout in two consecutive games after winning in Week 1. But the Knights have played premium competition, winning 27-26 over Class 4A No. 8-ranked Effingham before losing 18-0 to Class 4A No. 2-ranked Belleville Althoff and falling 33-0 to Class 2A No. 10-ranked Alton Marquette. The combined record of Mater Dei's opponents is 8-1.
“I told our players that they have played very tough competition, but this is an opportunity for us to win a game, if we play well,” Mount Carmel head coach Michael Brewer said. “I told them, 'Do not let your opponent's record fool you because they have some really good teams.'
“Belleville Althoff has Division I players on its roster and Marquette is a very good football team. They competition they have played compared to what we have played is different.”
The injury situation has not improved for the Golden Aces.
“We are going to look the same way we did last week (with our lineup at Princeton),” Brewer said. “We have have not gotten any healthier.”
Brewer said the coaching staff expects to rotate players on and off the field to keep more of them with 100 percent energy.
Mount Carmel has to put it all together for 48 minutes.
“We need to play a four-quarter football game, if we expect to defeat Mater Dei,” Brewer said. “The problem for us is that we haven't played a four-quarter game to this point. It's been one thing or another, including penalties or just being worn down.”
Meet the Knights
Mater Dei has gained more yards passing than rushing this season.
A.J. Albers has completed 22 of 46 passes for 264 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. Tyler Jasper (2 of 4, seven yards) and Lucas Theising (2 of 6, minus-1 yard) have also completed passes for the Knights this season.
Albers is a running quarterback with a team-high 37 rushing attempts for a minus-10 yards and one touchdown. Mater Dei's top ground-gainer is Justin Thole, who has 89 yards on 13 carries. Logan Ratermann added 56 yards on 20 carries.
The Knights have rushed for 188 yards in 2017.
Theising is Albers' top receiever after hauling in 11 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. Theising has also returned a kick for another touchdown.
Six Knights have double digits in tackles, including Nic Seelhoefer (24, eight tackles for loss), Drew Timmermann (17, 5.7 for loss), Garrett Foppe (17, 5.7 for loss), Thole (16, 5.3 for loss), Ben Kassen (12), Zach Napovanice (11) and Theising (10). One-third of Mater Dei's tackles this season have been for losses.
The Knights have intercepted one pass (Foppe) and recovered five fumbles (Napovanice with two). Thole has three sacks to his credit.
Nolan Poettker has made all three of his extra-point kicks and drilled both of this field goal attempts.