JCA rolls over Carmel, 34-14


MUNDELEIN – Joliet Catholic’s Harold Davis hauled in a Hail Mary pass to end the first half and the Hilltoppers went on to beat Carmel, 34-14, in the East Suburban Catholic Conference opener Friday.

JCA (2-1, 1-0) was at the Carmel 44-yard-line with 1.5 seconds left in the half. The Hilltoppers lined up Davis and two other receivers on the right side. Quarterback Cade Earl took the snap and put it in the air.

“I was running downfield. Cade threw it, and I saw their man was about to pick it off so I ran toward the ball and took it out of his hands,” said Davis, who caught the pass at the 10-yard line. “I kept my shoulders up and kept running. I ran through a couple of tackles and ran for the touchdown.”

The Hilltoppers turned a 10-6 lead at that point into a 17-6 halftime lead. JCA coach Dan Sharp agreed that the play changed the game.

“We’ve seen Harry do some amazing things in practice, but we’ve never seen anything like that,” Sharp said. “It was a desperation pass. The ball kind of slipped out of Cade’s hands, and the defender was in a perfect position to intercept it. Harry just attacked the ball, caught it, broke two tackles and scored. A play like that just knocks the wind out of your opponent and gives us life going into halftime.”

JCA took the ball to start the third quarter and drove 80 yards in 13 plays. Running back Michael Johnson scored from the 1 to put the Hilltoppers ahead, 24-6.

“It was very important [to score at that point] to stop their momentum, so they had no chance of coming back,” Johnson said.

Johnson added a 30-yard touchdown run on the Hilltoppers’ next series to make it 31-6.

JCA rushed for 374 yards on 59 carries on a night conducive to running as it rained the entire game. Johnson rushed 17 times for 162 yards while Nick Borgra, whose 1-yard TD run in the second quarter gave the Hilltoppers their 10-6 lead, carried 21 times for 113. Drew Voss carried 12 times for 52, Davis five for 32.

“It’s great because no one knows where the football is going,” Johnson said of the four backs who have been productive this season.

“They were trying to key my motion, and then we hit them with Voss with 31 Buck and 31 Counter,” he said. “It’s great because teams have to do more studying of our game films.”

The Hilltoppers’ defense forced two fumbles and recorded two sacks. Carmel (1-2, 0-1) mustered 284 yards of offense. JCA’s Brian Bravo kicked field goals of 32 and 43 yards.

“You have to give a lot of credit to [assistants] Dave Douglas, Rick Raasch and Jim Sharp,” Dan Sharp said. “The things they teach during the week really showed. It was a great team effort there. We would have liked to come out and pass more but the conditions did not dictate that. We found something with the running game, and the kids continued to execute. Our running backs ran very well.”

Carmel won the sophomore game, 35-14.

Published by The Herald-News/Shaw Media on Friday, September 12, 2014 by Mike Fitzgerald.

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