Top-ranked Hilltoppers win “The Battle of Mt. Greenwood”

Top-ranked Hilltoppers win “The Battle of Mt. Greenwood”; rally past Brother Rice 56-49 
Drake Skleba for Joliet Catholic Academy 

Forgive me, I was a history major….

 “I came; I saw; I conquered” Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor 47 B.C.

Joliet Catholic Academy head football coach, Jake Jaworski, may be familiar with the legendary words of Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar. After a highly-successful military campaign against Pharnaces II, King of Pontus in 47 B.C, in Latin Caesar spoke:

“Veni, vidi, vici”. “I came, I saw, I conquered” 

After Jaworski’s Class 4A No.1-ranked Hilltoppers. invaded Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood Friday night and rallied past Class 7A No.1-ranked Brother Rice 56-49, Caesar’s famous words could be spoken by Jaworski, “Veni, vidi. vici”

Led by “The Hogs” and “The Deadly Duo”, JCA (7-0) rushed for 657yards. The massive Hilltopper offensive line, affectionately known as  “The Hogs”, steamrolled  Brother Rice’s (5-2). defensive line. 

“The Deadly Duo” senior running backs Jordan Anderson and Vinnie Iannantone, ran wild in Mount Greenwood on Friday night.

Anderson, scored six touchdowns and rushed for 316 yards, while Iannantone eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau on the season, rushing for 173 yards. Iannantone, has now rushed for 1,047 yards and 11 touchdowns, on the season. 

Hilltopper fullback Ryan Louthan, rumbled for 84 yards on six carries. Senior quarterback Aidan Voss, rushed for 70 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown jaunt.

“The Hogs” feasted on the Brother Rice defensive line. 

The Hogs
C Niko Paolino (6-2, 295 pounds), G Paul Ragusa (6-1, 215); G Anthony Birsa (6-5, 265), T Josh Jones (6-2, 290) and T Luke Sartori 6-4, 335)


Brother Rice’s All-Everything quarterback, Jack Lausch, streaked 45-yards for a touchdown, just 25 seconds into the game. The Crusaders surprised “The Hill” with a successful on-side kick and scored again on a 1-yard touchdown run from Lausch (22-for-40, 399 yards, three TD, INT, 14 carries, 54 yards, 2TD) with 8:34 left in the first quarter. 

“When we were down 14-0 we never stop believing that we would  rally and win the game,” Anderson said. 

“I am so proud of our kids for taking two haymakers from Rice in the first four minutes of the game and roar back to win the game,” Jaworski said. 

Anderson would score the first of his six touchdowns from 3-yards out. After Hilltopper junior, place-kicker, Pat Durkin’s, first of his eight points-after-touchdown “The Hill” trailed 14-7, with 5:34 left in the first quarter. 

Brother Rice would strike back with a 52-yard TD jaunt, from Providence Catholic-transfer Aaron Vaughn (15 carries,143 yards, two TD, three catches, 44 yards), for a 21-7 Crusader lead with 4:15 in the first quarter, 

Less than two minutes later, The Hill would answer with a 25-yard gallop for six by Anderson, pulling the Hilltoppers to within 21-14, at the end of the first quarter.

With 11:34 left in the half, Voss raced 19-yards for the tying touchdown, to tie the game at 21-21. 

Vaughn would electrify the Crusader Nation, when he would race 58-yards for a touchdown, giving the Crusaders a 28-21 lead, with 10:51 left in the half. 

The Hill would answer!

Anderson would race 38 yards with the tying touchdown. 28-28 with 6:47 in the half. 

Lausch would connect from 10-yards out to senior Da’Kobie Wordlow III (7catches, 217 yards, TD) for a 35-28 Crusader lead with four minutes left in the half.

Anderson would rumble 32-yards to tie the game at 35-35 with two minutes left in the half. 

The Hilltopper “D” steps up BIG

With 18 seconds remaining in the half, Hilltopper All-State cornerback Malachi Hood, showed why he is considered All-State. Hood would pick off Lausch in the end zone, to preserve the 35-35 tie at the half.

“All the credit for this huge win, goes to all of our coaches, Hood said. “Big players have to make Big plays, in a great game like this. Anyone of us could have made the pick but it felt so good to get the INT.”  

Defensive coordinator Zach Dolph and the legendary Hilltopper defensive coach Cory McLaughlin, made defensive adjustments in the second half. 

Anderson would rumble 35-yards for touchdown #5 to give ‘The Hill” a lead they would never relinquish.

42-35 8:34 in the third quarter. Hilltopper All-State linebacker “King Michael” Rouse and the entire Hilltopper “D”, crushed Vaughn and senior defensive back, Charlie O’Neil, came up with a huge fumble recovery. 

Anderson would score TD #6 from one-yard out for a 49-35 Hiiltopper lead, at the end of the third quarter. 

With 6:59 in the game Lausch would hook up with his All-State tight end Hank Boyer, from seven yards out, to pull the Crusaders to within 49-42. 

Voss to Fieldman 

The Hilltoppers recovered the Crusader on-side kick and the lethal Hilltopper passing combo, would break the hearts of the raucous Crusader fans. 

Voss, on a play-action pass to perfection, connected with senior wide receiver Jake Fieldman (2 catches, 89 yards, TD) for a 57-yard touchdown strike, to give the Hilltoppers a 56-42 lead, with 6:40 left in the game. 


“They had 11-men in the box, trying to stop the run,” Voss said. “Jake was wide open and raced 57-yards for the clinching touchdown. A great call from our coaches and a great win for us.” 

With 2:33 left in the game, Lausch struck for a 31-yard touchdown pass to Boyer (7 catches, 89 yards, 2TD), pulling the Crusaders to within 56-49, 

With the Rice crowd howling, the Hilltoppers recovered their onside-kick. 

With 18 seconds left, Voss, was in the greatest formation for our No.1 Hilltoppers to be in. 

The victory formation and ran out the clock.

“This was a great win for us,”, Anderson added, “Our offense was simply unstoppable! Vinny (Iannantone) had another huge night for us. Ryan (Louthan) and Aidan (Voss) all contributed to our 657-yards rushing yards tonight. “The Hogs” led the way for us.” 

“Good victory for us tonight,” Iannantone said. “I had to work hard for my 173 yards tonight. What a pleasure to block for Jordan. He was amazing tonight. 657 yards rushing for us.” 

The Hogs

Senior Offensive tackle Josh Jones- “The Hogs” did their job tonight. 657 yards rushing. We opened huge holes for Jordan, Vinnie, Ryan (Louthan) and Aidan. What a great win!”

Senior Offensive tackle Luke Sartori- What a win!. We worked really hard in practice this week and it paid off. 657 yards rushing. With Jordan and Vinny, we have the greatest backfield in the country,” 

“I am speechless,” Jaworski concluded. “657 yards rushing. What a great win, especially after trailing 14-0. I am so proud of the effort put forth by all our kids tonight. Malachi’s pick in the end zone, was the game-changing play for us with 18 seconds, remaining in the half.

“We got five stops and we sacked Lausch five times. All the credit goes to our defensive coordinator Zach Dolph, Cory McLaughlin and all our defensive coaches, for the adjustments they made at halftime. 

“Jordan (Anderson) is special. Vinny, Ryan and Aidan, all ran well for us. We knew they were going to load up the box against our run, when Aidan hit Jake for the 57-yard touchdown pass, that clinched the game. 

“Celebrate tonight and then back to work on Monday, to get ready for Benet Academy next Friday in Lisle.” 

The one sad event of Friday night’s contest, was that the hard-hitting All-State linebacker Robby Purchase III, left the game with a leg injury. 

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