CHICAGO - With the big skyscrapers as the backdrop at Fornelli Field on the St. Ignatius College Prep campus, big plays were the name of the game as Joliet Catholic Academy beat the host Wolfpack 40-14 in a Chicago Catholic League white division game on Friday evening.
Five plays in the game went for 42 yards or longer and the Hilltoppers had three of them, all which were scoring plays.
On the first play of the game, St. Ignatius quarterback Leo Rugai scampered 79 yards to the three yard line and two plays later the Wolfpack had a 7-0 lead on a three-yard touchdown run by Rugai.
However, on JCA's (3-3, 2-0) next two possessions sophomore quarterback Aidan Voss hit Kenyetta Williams with perfect, in stride, touchdown passes of 77 and 60 yards to give the Hilltoppers a 13-7 lead with 4:43 before the half.
But the Wolfpack answered with an 83 yard strike from Rugai to E. J. Talarico to go up 14-13 with 1:44 left in the half. However JCA was not done as Voss hit Izaiah Murphy on fourth down with a 24 yard touchdown pass with only seven seconds left and JCA never looked back.
"They only had two big plays and our defense played really well," JCA coach Jake Jaworski said. "With the triple option offense they run you have to be disciplined and we just got caught on that first play. I'm proud of our guys, especially with the second game on the road and coming back after a loss. That two-minute drive at the end of the half was big, that turned everything around for us with the momentum. It's always big to win on the road, but especially after a loss."
In the first half JCA sophomore running back Jordan Anderson only had 36 yards on the ground, but he got it going in the second half as he ended the night with 183 yards on 18 carries and scored on a 42 yard run to give the Hilltoppers their final points of the game.
"I really didn't expect to start right away this season, but I wanted to show everyone that I was ready," Anderson said. "People have said I run like Le'Veon Bell with the hesitation, but I like to be patient and look for the hole and cut back if I need to. This team has really come together and we will just keep getting better."
Williams was not done after the two touchdown receptions as he had scoring runs of six and 26 yards in the second half and ended with 56 yards rushing and 140 yards receiving.
"This feels awesome," Williams said. "Tonight I really let everything go and I just wanted to prove to a lot of people that I'm back, the knee is totally healthy and we are all ready to go. Our offensive line did a great job tonight and Aidan and I practice those routes that we scored on everyday in practice. He stands in the pocket and they were absolutely perfect passes."
"It was great to get both Kenyetta and Jordan going tonight," Jaworski said. "We have been waiting on that and tonight was a big breakout game for Kenyetta. Then when we have that balance with the passing of Aiden that is what we are looking for. We made some halftime adjustments and our guys up front to a tremendous job tonight.
"Our kids were disappointed in the loss last week and there was no celebration tonight because they are learning to expect big things as a team each week and that is what we, as a coaching staff, like to see."