No.3 Hilltoppers crush No.9 Fenwick in AP Class 5A Top 10 Battle
Last updated 4/8/2021 at 4:16pm
Sunday Night Football in River Grove.
In a battle between the Associated Press's Class 5A No. 3-ranked Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers and the Class 5A No. 9-ranked Fenwick Friars, about 50 Hilltoppers fans made the trip to Triton College to cheer for their beloved Hilltoppers. A large contingent of Fenwick Friar fans also made the trip to River Grove.
Missing in action were NBC Sunday Night Football hosts Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth.
Michaels and Collinswoth missed another almost perfect performance from the third-ranked Hilltoppers.
Amassing an amazing 452 total yards of offense in the first half, Joliet Catholic (2-0) led 35-0 at the half and rolled to a 42-7 win in the CCL/ESCC crossover battle between two of the best high school football teams in Illlinois.
Wish you were here Al and Chris.
After Hilltoppers all-state safety Jabrill Williams returned the opening kickoff to the Hilltoppers 30, junior quarterback Aidan Voss and senior wingback Ja'Arie Mack got the party started.
Voss (8-12, 217 yards, 2 TD), on a play-action pass, hit Mack around midfield.
Mack put on an awesome display of open-field running, breaking tackles along the way. Senior wide receiver John Ehrsam cleared the way for his fellow senior, with outstanding downfield blocking, while Mack completed the 70-yard touchdown reception.
After Hilltoppers senior placekicker Jake Dixon's first of six PAT's, Joliet Catholic led 7-0 with 18 seconds erased on the Triton College scoreboard.
"We called a pass play because Fenwick was preparing to stop our running attack," Mack said. "The play worked to perfection. We're 2-0 and that's all we can do without a state tournament. (Our) home opener with 2,500 fans for the game with St. Ignatius will be very exciting."
After Mack got the party started, 6-foot-2, 230 pound junior tailback, Jordan Anderson got in on the action.
We will omit the names of the Fenwick defenders that were physically punished trying to tackle Anderson in the first half.
All Anderson did was rush for 142 yards on 16 carries, with touchdowns from 10, 27, and 1-yard out. Anderson also hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Voss for a 35-0 Hilltopper halftime lead.
The Hilltoppers rushed for 252 yards in the first half.
Junior Vinny Iannantone rushed for 39 yards on just two carries before going down with a leg injury.
Iannantone's replacement, junior Ryan Louthan, added 25 yards on four carries. He also took a Voss screen pass 51 yards. Mack also picked up 44 yards on the ground.
Voss was 6-for-9 in the first half with 193 yards in the air and two touchdowns. He hit his favorite receiver, junior Jake Fieldman, twice for 50 yards.
"The Hogs", the Joliet Catholic offensive line, as always, deserves mentioning.
Lucas Sartori (6-4, 330), Will Berry (6-2, 280), Josh Jones (6-2, 290) Jaden Lacy 6-3, 260) and center Niko Paulino (6-2, 290) helped JCA gain 452 total yards and 35 points.
Anderson scored his fifth touchdown of the game, his fourth rushing on a three-yard touchdown, for a 42-0 Hilltoppers lead initiating the 40-point running clock with 7:55 remaining in the third quarter.
"The defense stepped up again and our offensive line played well," Anderson said. "The hogs were there for me to have another good game. All my dogs must eat. Everyone played well and we had another team win."
The Hilltopper defense, led by the hard-hitting Robbie Purchase, held Fenwick to minus rushing yardage for most of the game.
Sack Master, senior defensive end Pat Strocchia, had two quarterback sacks and just missed a third. Senior defensive back Pat Duffy and junior defensive back Anthony Kasper came up with interceptions.
After blasting six of his kickoffs into the end zone against St. Laurence, Dixon settled for only four non-returnable kickoffs against the Friars.
"We have the best coaches and team camaraderie in the state," said Jabrill Williams. "This was a great victory and another overall team victory. I am really excited about our home opener versus St.Ignatius."
"Great team effort and our defense was electrifying," Purcahse said. "Defense always hope to set up our offense. Very excited about playing before 2,500 of our fans on Thursday night."
"Six man line. Play action to Mack for 70 yards and it worked on the first play of the game." Voss said, "My offensive line gave me protection and my receivers had a lot of yards after their catches. Super excited about finally having a home game for football, before 2,500 of our fans. The Hill Zone is amazing."
"Very impressive first half," Joliet Catholic coach Jake Jaworski. "The kids played hard and I'm very proud. A play action pass was called for with motion and the route was run to perfection. Great downfield blocking by Johnny Ehrsam and Ja'Aire took it to the end zone. Another excellent job by our defensive coordinator Zach Dolph. I have never seen a more hungry group of defenders, than what we have here. All 11 just swarm to the ball and have fun. Pat Duffy, a senior who waited for his opportunity this year to start and had a fine game for us. Ryan Louthan filled in for Vinny and had a played well."
"Fenwick is a good team and have will have good games ahead. Hopefully we will have a good crowd and a fun game with St. Ignatius Thursday night."
Up next on Thursday night is the Hilltoppers home opener with St.Ignatius at Memorial Stadium at 7:30 p.m.