Football: St. Patrick surprises Joliet Catholic 22-21
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 5, 2013 12:34AM
Joliet Catholic's Chad Earl hands off to Michael Ivlow vs. St. Patrick. | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2013 9:12AM
St. Patrick senior Jeremy Molina ran hard all night, often moving the pile to add extra yardage.
But when coach Dan Galante and his staff called his number to throw the decisive 2-point conversion pass, that created a few more butterflies.
“That was my first pass,” said Molina, whose toss to Mike Warner with 2:55 left Friday night gave the Shamrocks a 22-21 victory over previously unbeaten East Suburban Catholic rival Joliet Catholic at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
“I got some chances to practice it, and I was confident we could make it work. I just had to get rid of it as soon as I could.”
Molina (26 carries, 90 yards) swept right after taking the handoff, stopped and threw the ball short of Warner. But he came back to it, and the Shamrocks (3-3,1-2) were in the driver’s seat one last time.
Playing its first game since losing three key offensive players a week earlier, Joliet Catholic (5-1, 3-1) was behind all night. The Hilltoppers cut their deficit to 14-7 with a touchdown as halftime approached.
However, kicker Brian Bravo, a key in extra points and the field-position game, suffered a right knee injury when he was roughed on the extra-point kick. His absence would come into play later.
When Joliet Catholic scored in the third quarter to get to within 14-13, the Hilltoppers opted to run a fake and go for two points. It failed.
The running of Mike Ivlow (23 rushes, 170 yards) and passing of sophomore Cade Earl to Jordan Jones keyed an 86-yard scoring drive finally got the Hilltoppers the lead at 19-14 with 4:14 left as Nick Borgra took it in from 17 yards out. Ivlow ran the 2-point conversion to make it 21-14.
Zach Lukasik, the sophomore team kicker, got his boot to the 15, but Molina returned it to the Joliet Catholic 45. A face-mask penalty on the Hilltoppers helped set up Zach Fuller’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Warner to make it 21-20 and put St. Pat’s on the brink of one of its biggest victories in years.
“We hadn’t beaten this team since 1996,” Galante said. “That’s a long time.”
“Our defense played their hearts out,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. “Losing our kicker hurt, the return there at the end hurt, and we had crucial penalties.
“We went down and got the touchdown to go ahead and made the 2-point conversion we just didn’t hold them.”
The Hilltoppers’ final drive reached the St. Pat’s 4-yard line before it fizzled as Tahjman Davis and Curio Rocco sacked Earl on fourth down.
Earl completed 5-of-9 passes for 75 yards. Jones caught four for 61 and Borgra rushed for 66 on 12 carries and scored twice.