Football: Joliet Catholic knocks off Notre Dame 37-14
By Dick Goss email@example.com October 19, 2013 12:58AM
Joliet Catholic's (30) Michael Ivlow looks for some running room vs. Notre Dame at ATI Field Memorial Stadium in Joliet, Illinois, on Friday, October 18, 2013. | Larry Kane/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 20, 2013 11:22AM
Joliet Catholic looked like a championship football team in the second half of Friday’s showdown against Notre Dame at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
That’s exactly what they are.
The Hilltoppers broke away from a 14-14 halftime tie to whip the Dons 37-14.
The Hilltoppers still have a Week 9 visit to Benet, but the outcome there will not have a bearing on the ESCC title. Joliet Catholic and Carmel are the two members of the nine-team league playing seven conference games this season. The rest play six.
The Hilltoppers are 7-1, 5-1, while Notre Dame (6-2, 3-2) and all other contenders can do no better than 4-2 in the league.
Notre Dame was the more dominant team for most of the first half, but Joliet Catholic, with its patchwork offensive line necessitated by a rash of injuries, had running back Mike Ivlow and a fired-up defense on its side. The combination was lethal.
“We love second-half football,” Hilltoppers safety Jackson Shanklin said. “We made plays.”
With quarterback Ryan Greene and running back Chris James in the backfield, the Dons are dangerous. After piling up 250 yards of offense in the first half, they drove deep into Jolliet Catholic territory to open the second half. But Xavier Hernandez and Ken Aguirre combined on a third-down sack and the Dons missed a field-goal attempt.
Ivlow, who rushed for 299 yards on 29 carries and scored four touchdowns, also punts. He saved the day when he tracked down a high snap and managed to get off a 21-yard boot with two Dons in his face.
The Hillltoppers’ defense held, and Ivlow’s 69-yard run to the 2 set up Nick Pastore’s go-ahead touchdown run.
Ivlow then scored from 40 yards out, Brandon Bolek’s interception set up a 24-yard Brian Bravo field goal, and Ivlow capped the scoring with a 3-yard run.
All the while, the defense was superb.
“We stepped up and shut them out in the second half,” said Shanklin, who delivered some crushing hits. “That’s probably the best half we have played. James is an unbelievable runner. He’s hard to bring down. He had a lot of his yards after he was hit.”
James rushed for 160 yards on 19 carries. Greene completed 12-of-26 passes for 153 yards.
“Our defense played so hard,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. “They were physical and were getting pressure. Their quarterback (Greene) extended some plays, but we pressured him.
“We also took James out in the second half. That was key, too, although part of that had to do with the situation.”