October 19, 2006
Pair of Chicago juniors on the rise
On October 13, I attended the much anticipated Catholic League grudge match between highly ranked St. Rita Mustangs and the undefeated Mt. Carmel Caravan, which was ranked first in the Chicagoland area going into the game. In a contest that would have made a good episode of Friday Night Lights, Midwestern-style, St. Rita pulled off the 7-6 stunner despite being outplayed for the first three quarters of the game. The game can best be categorized as an extremely physical, hard-hitting defensive struggle that thrilled the standing room-only crowd estimated to be between 8,000 and 10,000 fans.
While I had seen both teams play earlier this year, the focus of my attention for this game was on Mt. Carmel's Steven Filer and St. Rita's Darius Fleming, two juniors who could get a lot of attention from NU in the coming months. It should be noted that there are two more juniors on these teams that are worthy of attention. I intended to also provide a report on Mt. Carmel's fast-rising Glen Foster, but unfortunately he was injured and not in pads for this game. St. Rita's Kevin Galeher, a 6-foot-3, 300-pounder, also is likely to be a top local recruit next year, and will be the focus of a future scouting report.
The following is an evaluation of Fleming's and Filer's strengths and opportunities for improvement, along with an assessment of how each might fit in at Northwestern.
Chicago (IL) Mt. Carmel
6-foot-3, 220 pounds
Offers: Notre Dame, Illinois and rumors of several more
No. 44 played exclusively as a middle linebacker during the game. The game program lists him at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, and those measurements appeared to be spot on. Filer played a great game despite being the focus of attention for St. Rita's offensive line, which often tried to double team him to kick start its run-oriented offensive game plan. Filer was in on probably a dozen tackles and was a big reason why St. Rita had only one or two first downs going into the fourth quarter. During St. Rita's lone touchdown drive in the fourth quarter the Mustangs were able to account for Filer and broke off some pretty big runs on their way to the game-winning score. Some of the bigger plays on the TD drive resulted from a new wrinkle St. Rita threw in on this drive -- QB draws out of a shotgun formation. Good to see that play does work for some teams!
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