ADDISON, Ill. -- Carmel’s Brian Brennan couldn’t squash the feeling of panic in the final minutes of Friday’s Class 7A playoff game.
Carmel led 28-20 as time was running down, but Addison Trail had the ball and with each completion was getting closer and closer to the end zone. Brennan understood the Blazers had to score and convert a 2-point conversion to even tie the game, but when you’ve lost games like Carmel has this season anything seems possible.
This time, though, there wouldn’t be a magical catch in the final seconds by Joliet Catholic’s Ty Isaac or any overtime heroics by Marist quarterback Ian Woodworth to crush Carmel’s spirits and send it home with a one-point loss.
This time, Carmel would prevail.
Addison Trail quarterback Trevor Bermingham’s final pass attempt from Carmel’s 12-yard line was knocked down and time expired Friday, giving visiting Carmel a 28-20 win in the Class 7A first-round playoff game.
Carmel, the No. 11 seed, will play No. 3-seeded Crystal Lake South next week in the second round. Crystal Lake South defeated Streamwood 35-7 on Friday.
“It was pretty nerve-wrecking,” said Brennan, who plays quarterback and defensive back. “We’ve been in that situation and haven’t come out on top. We know what it feels like. We were all playing are best, making sure we would win and come out next week.”
One thought kept going through Carmel coach Andy Bitto’s head while he watched the final plays unfold.
“‘One time,” Bitto said. “Just one time.”
The little breathing room Carmel (7-3) did have in the end came thanks to its early play.
On the opening drive, the Corsairs advanced 80 yards on 11 running plays and scored on a 9-yard run by Jordan Kos to go ahead 7-0. Two drives later, they went 98 yards, and Brennan snuck in from the 1-yard line to give Carmel a 14-0 lead with 3:15 left in the first half.
“That’s nice,” Bitto said. “It’s hard to chase in the playoffs.”
<p.It was a situation Addison Trail (8-2) wasn’t familiar with either. The Blazers had allowed 48 total points all season and never had given up more than 14 points to an opponent.
Despite that, they chased and nearly caught up.
Addison Trail cut its deficit to 14-8 with a 1-yard touchdown run by Anthony Messina and a 2-point conversion pass from Vince Beltrano to Mike Imperiale late in the second quarter. And when Carmel went up again 21-8 in the third quarter with a 14-yard touchdown run by Michael Panico, Addison Trail responded with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Bermingham to Nick Wisniewski.
Carmel built its lead to 28-14 with another 1-yard run by Brennan, and the Blazers answered with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Bermingham to Greg Schultz.
On Addison Trail’s final drive, it moved the ball 75 yards on five completions in 1:11. Addison Trail coach Paul Parpet Jr. wished he just had another 30 seconds.
“The way I feel about is we ran out o time,” Parpet Jr. said. “We didn’t do some things well in the first half that cost us toward the end of the game.”
Kos, the school’s all-time leading rusher, ran for 168 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries. Brennan had 82 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Panico rushed for 49 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.
Bermingham was 20-of-37 for 286 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.