St. Patrick’s trick play upsets Joliet Catholic

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St. Patrick senior Jeremy Molina ran hard all night, often moving the pile to add extra yardage.

But when coach Dan Galante and his staff called his number to throw the decisive two-point conversion pass, that created a few more butterflies.

“That was my first pass,” said Molina, whose toss to Mike Warner with 2:55 left Friday gave the Shamrocks a 22-21 victory over previously unbeaten East Suburban Catholic rival Joliet Catholic at Joliet Memorial Stadium.

“I got some chances to practice it, and I was confident we could make it work. I just had to get rid of it as soon as I could.”

Molina (26 rushes, 90 yards) swept right after taking the handoff, stopped and threw the ball short of Warner, but he came back to it and the Shamrocks (3-3,1-2) were in the driver’s seat one last time.

The two-point conversion was setup by Zach Fuller’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Warner.

Playing its first game since losing three key offensive players a week earlier, Joliet Catholic (5-1, 3-1) was behind all night. The Hilltoppers cut their deficit to 14-7 with a touchdown as halftime approached.

However, kicker Brian Bravo, a key in extra points and the field position game, suffered a right knee injury when he was roughed on the extra point kick. His absence would come into play later.

When Joliet Catholic scored in the third quarter to get within 14-13, the Hilltoppers opted to run a fake and go for two points. It failed.

Nick Borgra took it in from 17 yards out with 4:14 left to cap an 86-yard drive that gave the Hillttoppers a 19-14 lead. Mike Ivlow (23 carries, 170 yards) ran the two-point conversion in to make it 21-14.

Molina returned the ensuing kickoff to the Joliet Catholic 45 after a face mask penalty to help set up the game-winning drive.

“We hadn’t beaten this team since 1996,” Galante said. “That’s a long time.”

“Our defense played their hearts out,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. ‘‘Losing our kicker hurt, the return there at the end hurt, and we had crucial penalties.

“We went down and got the touchdown to go ahead and made the two-point conversion. We just didn’t hold them.”

The Hilltoppers’ final drive reached the St. Pat’s 4-yard line before it fizzled as Tahjmman Davis and Rocco Curiosacked Cade Earl on fourth down.

Earl completed 5 of 9 passes for 75 yards fillining in for the injured Nick Morrison.

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