Goss: A hug tells tale of Ivlow, Hilltoppers
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 19, 2013 7:08PM
Joliet Catholic’s Michael Ivlow (30) gets a high five from injured teammate J.D. Butler after scoring a touchdown Friday against Notre Dame. | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2013 11:03AM
As sophomore offensive lineman Ze’Veyon Furcron left the field after his final play, Mike Ivlow called him over and gave him a bear hug.
“You did a great job for us,” he said.
Furcron’s grin was priceless. The gesture from Joliet Catholic’s leader is something Furcron never will forget.
“We’ve got three fill-in starters in the offensive line,” Ivlow said after Friday night’s 37-14 victory over Notre Dame that wrapped up the East Suburban Catholic championship. “The right guard, Z (Furcron), whatever his name is, I don’t even know how to pronounce it.
“The left guard, Chase Krumviede, is a junior. And the left tackle, Tyler Witt, is a sophomore. And they did a great job to help me celebrate. (Thursday) was my birthday.”
Ivlow celebrated to the tune of 299 rushing yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns. He has 1,913 yards in an incredible season, 239.1 per game, and has cracked the 20-touchdown plateau.
He continues to build on those numbers despite tackle DeAndre Ford and guards J.B. Butler and Jalen Hansel injured.
Furcron was promoted from the sophomore team to play center when Butler and center Nick Chavez were injured in the Week 5 game against Marist.
Last week at Carmel, Hansel was hurt on the fifth offensive play. He may have been able to play Friday in an emergency.
Chavez, despite nursing a high ankle sprain, took over at center against Carmel and Furcron switched to guard. The Hilltoppers won that game 37-14.
“The sophomores, the young guys, have really stepped up,” said Chavez, who added he felt much better this week than last. “They’re good.”
Backup fullback Drew Voss saw extended action Friday and helped the Hilltoppers (7-1, 5-1) find offensive rhythm. Sophomore Cade Earl continued to deliver in place of injured quarterback Nick Morrison, who should return soon.
It’s all in the family.
“We’re out to prove the whole state wrong,” Ivlow said. “Teams we’re beating have all those Division I guys. We don’t. But we’re a team. We love each other.”
Ivlow has led the way. His rushing stats are phenomenal.
“When he runs past us, what a great feeling,” Chavez said. “We know where he’s headed.”
But Ivlow is more than a yardage machine. He also provides leadership, and he punts.
With the score 14-14 late in the third quarter, Ivlow tracked down a rolling snap that sailed over his head and somehow got off a 21-yard boot with two defenders in his face. That play, and his two long runs before the third quarter ended, helped turn the game around.
“It was nerve-racking. I was freaking out,” is how Ivlow described his feelings when he saw the high snap. “That’s the most nervous I ever was.”
“Mike made a tremendous athletic play there,” Hilltoppers coach Dan Sharp said. “There was no panic.”
If he were allowed mulligans, Ivlow would change the end of two long runs. A 43-yarder ended at the Notre Dame 7 and a 69-yarder at the Dons’ 2.
“I took a lot of grief on the sidelines about that,” Ivlow said of being caught from behind. “Too many Twizzlers lately. That, and I ate Doritos (Thursday).”
Interview concluded — except for one more compliment.
“(Linebacker) Mike Gruben and (safety) Brandon Bolek were awesome on our defense,” Ivlow said. “They have stepped up and been leaders the whole year.”
He grabs headlines, rightfully so. But Ivlow also understands team. He shares the glory.
That sort of attitude can go a long way.