The master plan for Joliet Catholic securing its 14th state championship included staying healthy.
“We’re not deep, especially in the line,” coach Dan Sharp said on multiple occasions before the season.
So what happened? The injury bug bit the Hilltoppers hard during the second half of Friday’s 49-27 East Suburban Catholic victory over Marist. Now it’s time for some inexperienced kids to help.
Senior offensive guard/defensive lineman/captain JB Butler fractured the weight-bearing bone on his left foot. Sharp said he is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Senior center Nick Chavez suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss Friday’s game against St. Patrick. He is questionable for Week 7.
Senior quarterback Nick Morrison will miss at least six weeks because of a fractured ankle.
Junior offensive tackle DeAndre Ford fractured an ankle in Week 1 against Providence and will not return until sometime during the playoffs, if at all.
“Losing Ford in the Providence game and then two linemen and our quarterback in one night, to be down three linemen when that’s an area we’re not deep, some guys have to step up,” Sharp said. “We’re on fumes in terms of personnel.”
Sophomore Cade Earl will take over at quarterback. Junior Chase Krumviede will replace Butler at left guard and sophomore Ze’Veyon Furcron will be at center. Sophomore Tyler Witt has been playing left tackle all season, since Ford went down.
Senior tight end Zach Rezin returned last week after being out since Week 2. Krumviede had filled in for Rezin at tight end and also has played on the defensive line.
Sharp said Earl is not a drop-off at quarterback “except for the experience factor.”
Joliet Catholic is 5-0 with four regular-season games before the playoffs begin. Sharp remains upbeat.
“You can’t shake these kids’ confidence or character,” he said. “They’re so caring for one another. We are fortunate to have great kids, and that will carry us.
“However,” he added, “we can’t lose any more.”
Romeoville junior nose tackle Evan Stingily is the last of the Stingilys.
His brother, Byron, is No. 2 on the depth chart at right tackle with the Tennessee Titans and brother Cameron is coming into his own as the regular tailback at Northern Illinois, rushing for 310 yards, a 5.1 average, and three touchdowns in four games.
Player of the Week
Javier Montalvo, of Lincoln-Way West, is the Herald-News Player of the Week.
Montalvo rushed for 261 yards and added 94 receiving yards while scoring five touchdowns in Lincoln-Way West’s 42-14 SouthWest Suburban Red victory over Andrew.