After rushing for a career-high 310 yards in the season opener, Joliet Catholic senior Mike Ivlow didn’t count on piling up that kind of yardage again.
But after a pair of touchdowns for 58 and 63 yards in the first quarter against Nazareth Saturday, Ivlow was off to the races again. The 5-10, 205-pound wingback’s final tally was pretty impressive. He finished with 354 yards on 27 carries and scored his third touchdown of the game on his final carry with 9:21 left to play as No. 19 Joliet Catholic rolled to a 42-0 victory against host Nazareth.
Ivlow already has rushed for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
“I’ve never had a 300-yard game before this season,” Ivlow said. “I just put my head on a swivel and just run.”
After going 8-5 last season, the Hilltoppers (4-0, 2-0 East Suburban Catholic) are conference front-runners and will host No. 15 Marist on Friday.
Ivlow didn’t come close to the Joliet Catholic single-game rushing yard record. That still belongs to former Sun-Times player of the year Ty Isaac, who had 26 carries for 515 yards and six touchdowns in the 2011 Class 5A state title game.
“That’s [Ivlow’s] second 300-yard rushing game,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. “You can’t have a running game, no matter your running back, if you don’t have an offensive line. Ivlow really follows his block so well. He’s hard to get to tackle when he gets in the open field.”
Joliet Catholic ran only five plays from scrimmage and was ahead 14-0 with 8:33 remaining in the first quarter after Ivlow’s two touchdown runs. His first, a 58-yard score, came on the game’s second play from scrimmage. After Nazareth went three-and-out, Ivlow ran up the middle for a 63-yard touchdown on a third-and-6 play. By halftime, he had 239 yards on 20 carries.
Nazareth (2-2, 0-2) reached Joliet territory only twice, and fumbled at the Hilltoppers’ 25 late in the first quarter.
Joliet Catholic turned the fumble into a scoring drive, capped by quarterback Nick Morrison’s 32-yard touchdown run. Nazareth quarterback Jake Bartels (12-for-21, 75 yards) threw the first of his three interceptions on the next possession, and it was returned 32 yards for a touchdown by defensive back Jackson Shanklin for a 28-0 lead.
The Hilltoppers’ Nick Borgra, who rushed for four touchdowns in a Week 3 win over St. Viator, was limited to 38 yards on eight carries.
Entering the game, Nazareth shook up its usual defensive lineup to add more of a run-stopping scheme. Junior 6-3, 190-pounder Decxavier Kelly-Martin received his most extensive playing time of the season at linebacker, but the Roadrunners still could not contain Ivlow.
“It was a pretty big day for [Ivlow],” Kelly-Martin said. “We practiced to try something out that was new. It didn’t work out particularly well.”
Nazareth suffered its worst home loss to Joliet Catholic in at least 10 years.