LAST WEEK: The Caravan (2-0) beat Gary (Ind.) West 56-6 on the road.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Tucker Gill, sr., OG, Michael Kennedy, sr., RB, Macauley Kilbane, sr., OLB, Phazione McClurge, sr., S, Verdis Brown, jr. OT, Alek Thomas, jr., ATH

GAME NOTES: This will be Mount Carmel’s toughest game of the season after the Caravan opened with Taft, of the Chicago Public League, and Gary (Ind.) West and beat them by a combined 105-13. … Mount Carmel hasn’t had a piece of the Catholic Blue title since 2013, but the Caravan are expected to be a championship contender this season, along with the Ramblers and Brother Rice. … Loyola has to be disciplined defensively every time it faces Mount Carmel’s option offense. This season is no different. The Caravan have a big offensive line, anchored by 6-foot-4, 290-pound junior Verdis Brown and 6-foot-1, 250-pound senior Tucker Gill, and talented players at the skill positions. Senior running back Michael Kennedy, a 6-1, 195-pound Northern Illinois commit, will carry most of the load. But it’s junior athlete Alek Thomas who is the offense’s X-factor. Mount Carmel coach Frank Lenti told the Chicago Sun-Times in the preseason that the Caravan will use the 5-10, 170-pound Thomas at multiple positions. Loyola defensive line coach Beau Desherow said Thomas can play quarterback, running back and receiver. “He’s a dynamic player,” Desherow said. “You can tell they want the ball in his hands and will put him in a lot of different places to achieve that goal.” … Mount Carmel’s defense suffered a big blow when junior cornerback Houston Griffith transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, over the summer. According to, Griffith’s offers include ones from Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Senior safety Phazione McClurge, a 6-2, 195-pound North Dakota State recruit, remains a standout on defense. … Last season, Loyola beat Mount Carmel 49-21 in Wilmette to cap a perfect regular season. The Caravan beat the Ramblers 10-7 the last time the game was played at Gately Stadium in 2014.