Football: Joliet Catholic shuts out Nazareth 42-0
BY GEORGE M. WILCOX For Sun-Times Media September 21, 2013 10:58PM
Nazareth Academy’s Robbie Brindley tries to bring down Joliet Catholic running back Michael Ivlow on Saturday. | Steve Johnston/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 22, 2013 12:58PM
After rushing for a career-high 310 yards in the season opener, Joliet Catholic senior Mike Ivlow never counted on piling up that kind of yardage again.
But after a pair of touchdowns for 58 and 63 yards in the first quarter against Nazareth on Saturday, Ivlow was off to the races again. His finally tally was mind-boggling for the 5-foot-10, 205-pound wingback. Ivlow finished with 354 yards rushing on 27 carries and scored his third touchdown of the game on his final carry with 9:21 remaining. His 67-yard TD run helped give Joliet Catholic a 42-0 victory over host Nazareth.
Ivlow, the son of Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow, has more than 1,000 yards rushing on the season and 10 touchdowns.
“I’ve never had a 300-yard game before this season,” Ivlow said. “I just put my head on a swivel and just run.”
After going 8-5 last season, the Hilltoppers (4-0, 2-0) are moving into front-runner status in the East Suburban Catholic. They will host Marist on Friday.
Ivlow didn’t come close to the Joliet Catholic record for yards rushing in a game. That belongs to Ty Isaac, who had 26 carries for 515 yards and six touchdowns in the 70-45 loss to Montini in the 2011 Class 5A state championship game.
“That’s (Ivlow’s) second 300-yard rushing game,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. “You can’t have a running game, no matter your running back, if you don’t have an offensive line. Ivlow really follows his block so well. He’s hard to get to tackle when he gets in the open field.”
Ivlow scored his first two touchdowns on his first four touches. Joliet Catholic ran only five plays from scrimmage and was ahead 14-0 with 8:33 remaining in the first quarter. Ivlow’s first TD of 58 yards came on the game’s second play from scrimmage. After Nazareth went three-and-out, Ivlow ran up the middle for a 63-yard TD on a third-and-6 play. By halftime, he had 239 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Nazareth (2-2, 0-2) lost 34-33 in triple overtime last year at Joliet Catholic, but could not threaten in the rematch. The Roadrunners reached Joliet territory only twice and fumbled at the Hilltoppers’ 25 late in the first quarter.
Joliet Catholic turned the fumble into a scoring drive, capped by quarterback Nick Morrison’s 32-yard TD run. Nazareth quarterback Jake Bartels (12-of-21, 75 yards) threw the first of his three interceptions on the next possession, which was returned 32 yards for a touchdown by defensive back Jackson Shanklin, and Joliet Catholic took a 28-0 lead.
“Those guys made those holes that were excellent for me,” Ivlow said of his offensive line. “It was a huge win for us. Scoring first set the momentum.”
The Hilltoppers did not complete a pass in the game. Morrison had only six passing attempts. Nick Borgra, who rushed for four touchdowns in a Week 3 win over St. Viator, did not reach the end zone Saturday and was limited to 38 yards on eight carries.
Ivlow rushed for 310 yards in the opener against Providence and had 203 yards and two TDs in a 49-7 win over St. Thomas (Minn.) on Sept. 7.
Entering the game, Nazareth shook up its usual defensive lineup to add more of a run-stopping scheme. Junior Decxavier Kelly-Martin received his most extensive playing time of the season at linebacker. But with the addition of his 6-3, 190-pound size, the Roadrunners still could not contain Ivlow.
“It was a pretty big day for (Ivlow),” Kelly-Martin said. “We practiced to try something out that was new. It didn’t work out particularly well.”
Nazareth suffered its worst home loss to Joliet Catholic in at least 10 years.