JOLIET —Defensive back Jabril Williams’ nose for the football helped Joliet Catholic defeat Fenwick 49-14 Friday in a CCL/ESCC matchup.
The junior stopped Fenwick’s opening drive of the game by snaring quarterback Kaden Cobb’s overthrow and returning it 93 yards for a Hilltoppers’ touchdown to give Joliet Catholic a 7-0 lead after Jake Dixon’s extra point with 7:44 to play in the first quarter.
“That was just great blocking by my team. I had faith in my guys. I turned up the sideline, and the hole was there. I take no credit for that. It was all them,” Williams said.
The interception stopped Fenwick, which had moved the ball to the Joliet Catholic 25-yard-line with relative ease in its first possession. The Friars, (2-2, 0-1), never recovered from that mistake.
“We needed to do something. If we didn’t do anything, we knew within the next couple of plays, they could have scored. I just got into a different mindset, and I tried to put myself into a position to help the team,” Williams said.
“That was huge. They got the ball and worked their way down the field. Jabril put himself in a position to make a play on the ball, and you saw the special talent that he has with the ball in his hands,” Joliet Catholic coach Jake Jaworski said.
“That’s the tough part with JB. He could very well be a big-play player for us on offense, but right now as a junior he’s kind of like a captain for the defense in the secondary making a lot of the coverage adjustments. We have to find more ways to get him the ball.”
The Hilltoppers, (2-2, 1-1), added to their lead on their first offensive possession of the game. Quarterback Anthony Napolitano executed a perfect play-action fake and found receiver Izaiah Murphy wide open for a 46-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0 with 4:37 to play in the first quarter. Napolitano would later find Murphy on a 69-yard pass on Joliet Catholic’s next offensive possession which would end with running back Jordan Anderson scoring on a 3-yard-run to make it 21-7 with 1:04 to play in the first quarter.
Napolitano completed 2-of-2 passes for 115 yards.
“We came out today looking for an even defense (from Fenwick) that was set up to stop the run. We noticed they weren’t playing the pass so coach called the play to Murph, and I had to get it to him. We had beautiful blocking by the line on that play,” Napolitano said.
Jaworski also worked sophomore quarterback Aidan Voss into the mix, and he delivered two touchdown passes. Voss’s first scoring pass went 40 yards to running back Ja’Aire Mack which made the score 28-7. His second touchdown pass, a 15-yarder, went to receiver John Ehrsam to make it 42-7 with 30 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Voss completed 2-of-3 passes for 55 yards.
“My receivers found a way to get open. The line provided beautiful blocking, and our team showed how good we can be,” Voss said. “They kept blitzing so our deep routes came open.”
Fenwick sold out on defense to try to stop the Hilltoppers’ rushing attack, but its approach didn’t work. Anderson finished with 16 carries for 141 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Running back Kenyetta Williams finished with 12 carries for 91 yards. Joliet Catholic rushed for 319 yards on 39 carries.