Hilltoppers, Anderson hold off Montini to take home CCL-ESCC crown and a 9-0 regular season

Drake Skleba for Joliet Catholic Academy 


Joliet Catholic Academy Hilltoppers.

Chicago Catholic League-East Suburban Catholic Conference Orange Division Champs!

Joliet Catholic Academy Hilltoppers at the Broncos of Montini, Friday night in Lombard.

But it wasn’t easy

Needing a victory, which would give them a share of the CCL-ESCC Orange championship and send Montini to the IHSA Class 3A playoffs as the CCL-ESCC Orange champion, the Broncos (3-6, 1-2) gave everything they had on Friday night. 

On the very first play from scrimmage, Montini junior quarterback Caden Phengkeokaisone (19-for-34, 234 yards, 3TD) connected with senior wide receiver, Estavan Moreno (five catches, 149 yards, 3TD) for a 74-yard scoring strike and a 7-0 Bronco lead 19 seconds into the first quarter. 

The Hilltoppers would respond.

Behind “The Hogs” the Hilltoppers rushed for 419 yards and defeat Montini 44-28.

“The Deadly Duo” senior running backs Vinny Iannantone and All-American Jordan Anderson combined for 360 yards and five rushing touchdowns. 

Iannantone broke the 200-yard mark for the second time this season, rushing for 209 yards on 29 carries and his 14th touchdown of the season. 

Anderson rushed for 151 yards on 18 carries and four rushing touchdowns. Anderson added a fifth touchdown on a 17-yard touchdown strike from senior quarterback Aidan Voss (eight-for-12, 140 yards, TD, five carries, 50 yards). 

The Hill responded with 27 consecutive points, opening up a 27-7 lead with 4:02 in the first half. 

Iannantone scored from one yard out and with sophomore place-kicker, Pat Durkin’s point-after-touchdown the game was tied at 7-7 with 8:12 in the first quarter,

With 3:11 in the first quarter,  Anderson, from seven-yards out scored, for a 13-7 Hill lead. 

Voss to Fieldman

A 47-yard strike from Voss to senior wide receiver Jake Fieldman (two catches, 64 yards) set up Anderson’s seven-yard touchdown run 

Anderson made it 19-7 Hilltoppers with 6:51 in the half on a five-yard touchdown run. 

Sophomore defensive lineman Dylan Johnson, fell on a Montini fumble at the Montini 41. Voss connected with Anderson from 17-yards out for a 25-7 lead with 4:02 left in the first half. Anderson would rumble into the end zone on the two-point-conversion and a 27-7 Hilltopper lead. 

Montini closed to 27-14 with 2:16 left in the first half. 

Hilltopper defensive back Charlie O’Neill, came up with a huge interception at the Montini 30. 

On the last play of the first half, Durkin converted on a 26-yard field goal for a 30-14 Hilltopper lead at the half. 

“Pat’s field goal right at the end of the first half was huge for us,” Hilltopper head football coach Jake Jaworski said. 

Anderson added a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, from three and 19-yards, to open a 44-14 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Montini, playing for their playoff lives, added a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull within 44-28

“Give credit to the outstanding Montini team, that we defeated tonight,” Voss said. “Our offense really moved the ball tonight. We had a very productive passing game. We are happy with the 9-0 regular season and the CCL-ESCC Orange title, but we have a lot of work to do to be where we want to be.” 

“The Hogs” had a good night leading the way to a 419-yard rushing night,” Hog” senior offensive guard Paul Ragusa said. “We always can be better and that is what we strive for each week.”

“A perfect 9-0 regular season and another CCL-ESCC Orange title is nice, but…here at Joliet Catholic Academy we have but one goal. And that is a state championship,” Iannaontone said. 

They (the offensive line) were outstanding tonight. I had a big night with over 200 yards on the ground but as always, I could not have achieved that without “The Hogs.” Iannantone concluded. 

“The perfect regular season and the CCL-ESCC title is great,” Anderson said. “I feel great physically and we all had a great night. We are really beat up right now and have to get healthy. We really miss Robby (Purchase III) on defense and his injury has caused a lot of people to have to step up. We have to cleanup a lot of things for us to achieve our goal as the IHSA Class 4A State Champion.” 

“Jordan is special but I really want Vinny (Iannantone) to get the recognition he so richly deserves,” Jaworski added. “Vinny has been our MVP this year. On to the playoffs, we have to clean-up some things, but if we play to our ability we can achieve our goal.”

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