Mike Ivlow rushes for 4 TDs in Joliet Catholic win

SHARE Mike Ivlow rushes for 4 TDs in Joliet Catholic win

Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp was genuinely concerned about the Hilltoppers’ second-round opponent in the Class 5A state playoffs. Kaneland showed up Saturday night at Joliet Memorial Stadium with standout quarterback Drew David piloting a dangerous spread offense, and good size on both sides of the ball.

But if Sharp had written the script, he could not have topped what actually happened. Mike Ivlow ran for 219 yards and scored four touchdowns in the first half, the Hilltoppers’ defense and special teams were superb, and big No. 50, JB Butler, was back doing his thing in a 45-8 romp over Kaneland.

Joliet Catholic (10-1) will visit four-time defending state champion Montini in the quarterfinals next weekend. Kaneland (9-2) not only was eliminated but lost its star quarterback, Drew David, in the second quarter to a possible broken rib. He did not return. That was after offensive lineman Sam Bower was injured early and spent most of the night on crutches on the sideline.

“This is a big win for us,” Sharp said. “I really was impressed by Kaneland. We played a very good team that got some bad breaks, with injuries and such.”

One bad break was catching the Hilltoppers on Butler’s first game back. The left guard, whom Sharp calls the best offensive lineman Joliet Catholic has had during his tenure, suffered a fractured left ankle during the Marist game in Week 5.

Butler pulling and leading the way for Ivlow on the “29 Power” play was a work of art. Ivlow ripped off a 67-yard touchdown on his first touch and added scores of 80, 24 and 16 yards in the final five minutes of the second quarter.

“The first run I was dizzy. It felt like Providence (in Week 1),” Ivlow said. “I felt faster on the 80-yarder than the 67-yarder.”

Butler was standing nearby, and teased, “I haven’t played in five weeks and I’m faster than you.”

Ivlow suffered a knee cut late in the first half but is fine. He had three carries in the third quarter and closed in 220 yards in 12 attempts. Fellow wingback Nick Borgra enjoyed a big second half, finishing with 140 yards 12 carries, including touchdowns of 42 and 51 yards.

Kicker Brian Bravo was perfect on six extra points and a 23-yard field goal, and Ben Hart executed an onside kick that Mike Gruben recovered in stride.

The rest was defense. The Hilltoppers, who made three stops in their territory in the first half, kept Kaneland off the board until a Nate Dyer 3-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.

“The coaches did a great job preparing us,” said Joliet Catholic cornerback Danny Weis, who barely tipped away the possible tying touchdown pass on the play before David was injured.

“I was supposed to sit on the out route and under the wheel, and I was lucky to get there,” Weis said.

“You can tell our defense is different this year,” Butler said. “We get up and they smell blood. We have the defensive players to get it done.”

“Hats off to Joliet Catholic,” Kaneland coach Tom Fedderly said. “They did a tremendous job.”

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