Football: Joliet Catholic’s trip proves quite the winner
By Dick Goss firstname.lastname@example.org September 10, 2013 10:12PM
Providence's running back Dominic Lagone (2) scores a touchdown as Minooka's Nathan Reilly (40) tries to stop him during the second quarter in Minooka Friday September, 6, 2013.| Raymundo Luna/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 12, 2013 6:27AM
A St. Thomas, Minn., coach told Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp afterward it was a physical, “two chin-strap game.”
To members of the Hilltoppers football team, it was business as usual, climaxing a trip they will remember the rest of their lives.
The host Cadets being young, somewhat banged up and unaccustomed to the Joliet Catholic brand of toughness — beginning with linemen J.B. Butler and Jalen Hansel — factored in the 49-7 Hilltoppers victory in 94-degree heat Saturday at Mendota Heights, Minn.
“Our two lines played really well,” Sharp said. “Our defense had one of its best games in a long time, and our special teams really played well, too.”
The Hilltoppers left school about 5 a.m. Friday, practiced at College of St. Thomas in St. Paul from 1 until 3 p.m., then went to the high school where they were treated to a cookout and mingled with St. Thomas players. They looked around downtown Minneapolis for a while before returning to their hotel.
The next day consisted of breakfast at the hotel, the game and the trip home, which ended about 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
“It was neat the number of fans we had up there,” Sharp said. “We traveled very well, and some alumni who live up there came to see us.
“The kids were treated like college guys when they travel. Everyone was so nice to us.”
Providence ‘D’ adjusts
Seven days after allowing 310 rushing yards to Joliet Catholic’s Mike Ivlow during Week 1, Providence limited Minooka’s Nate Gunn to 10 yards on 10 carries. His longest run was three yards.
“We were not getting to the second level of their defense,” Minooka coach Paul Forsythe said. “They took away our best.”
Celtics quick defensive lineman Luis Vasquez spent more than his share of time in the Indians backfield.
Joliet West was challenged by visiting King, and the 35-6 final was not indicative of how competitive the game was.
Wide receiver Ronald Banner, who caught six passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns, explained the Tigers’ method: “They came here to play, and we had to play them back.”
Player of the Week
Providence senior running back Dominic Lagone is the Herald-News Football Player of the Week. Lagone had his second straight strong game, rushing for 136 yards on 19 carries and scoring four touchdowns in the Celtics’ 38-21 win over Minooka.