Hilltoppers, “Hogs” and Anderson roll past Wheaton Academy 48-14

Drake Skleba for Joliet Catholic Academy

On to the Elite 8 in Class 4A

On a cool, crisp, autumn Friday night at Memorial Stadium, the top-seeded Joliet Catholic Academy Hilltoppers, (11-0) rushed for 540 yards and rolled past the No.8-seeded Warriors of Wheaton Academy 48-14, in an IHSA Class 4A Second-Round game. 

The Hilltoppers were led by their senior All-American wingback, Jordan Anderson.

Anderson rushed for 152 yards on just 11 carries and scored four touchdowns, adding a two-point conversion. 26 of the Hilltoppers’ 48 points, were scored by the Hilltoppers All-American. Anderson has 22 rushing touchdowns on the season with a pair of touchdown receptions from Hilltopper senior quarterback Aidan Voss. Anderson has rushed for 975 yards on the season. 

The other half of the Hilltoppers, “Deadly Duo”, senior halfback Vinny Iannantone rushed for 122 yards on just eight carries, with his 17th touchdown of the season and added a two-point conversion. Iannantone has now rushed for 1,547 yards this season,.

The unsung hero of the Hilltoppers deadly backfield, senior fullback Ryan Louthan, exploded for 103 yards on just seven carries, on the night.

“Most of the school’s that we faced this year attacked us with a defensive alignment that didn’t allow us to utilize our fullback,” JCA head coach Jake Jaworski said. “Tonight, Wheaton Academy’s defensive alignment, allowed us to utilize Ryan and he was awesome tonight. With trap plays and fullback blasts, he was amazing. Ryan has been very productive for us all season.”

With 11:21 in the first half, Wheaton Academy (8-3) drove 97-yards on 14 plays, to pull within 7-6. The Hilltoppers answered with the first Anderson touchdown, from two-yards out, for a 13-6 lead. The highlight of the seven play, 75-yard scoring drive was a 25-yard gallop from Louthan. 

With 7:44 in the half, Wheaton Academy had the ball and began to march down the field behind junior quarterback Belay Brummel (15-for-35, 145 yards). Hilltopper junior defensive end Billy Burke said “enough of this”. Burke, coming off the edge, met Brummel up close and personal and came up with a huge, drive-ending sack. 

“I was coming off the edge and I thought he was going to try to run away from me,” Burke said. “He did not and I blasted him. It was great and I almost got him a couple of times, later in the game. A big team win for us and on to next week,” 

Burke’s huge sack ignited the entire Hilltopper “D” and the Warriors would only get a consolation touchdown, with 2 minutes remaining in the game, to close out the scoring 48-14. 

The Hilltoppers elusive senior quarterback Voss, rambled 14 yards to put The Hill on the board, 7-0, 90 seconds into the first quarter. Voss ran wild for 139 yards on just 12 carries, giving the Hilltoppers four-100 yard rushers on that night. Voss completed his only pass of the night, to his favorite receiver, senior Jake Fieldman, for 45 yards that highlighted the three-play. 65 yard JCA scoring drive.  

“Our defense was outstanding tonight,” Voss said. “Billy Burke and Jeremy Johnson, really put pressure on the Wheaton Academy quarterback. “The Hogs” did a great job opening huge holes for us. It felt good to have a great night running the ball. I am very excited to play Wheaton St. Francis or Genoa-Kingston,, next week in the Class 4A Quarterfinals,” 

The Hilltoppers drove 58-yards on just four plays, capped-off by Iannantone’s five-yard touchdown run.

On the next Hilltopper possession, “The Deadly Duo” would strike again.

Iannantone raced 41-yards and Anderson would cap-off the two-play, 61-yard scoring drive when he rumbled 20-yards into the end zone. The Hilltopper two-point conversion failed and the Hilltoppers led 26-6.

With 1:01 remaining in the half, Anderson scored from 17-yards out and with Iannantone’s two-point conversion JCA led 34-6 at the half. 

“The Deadly Duo” speaks. 

“This was another big win for us,” Iannantone said. “We really attacked Wheaton Academy. Our defense played well and “The Hogs” opened up huge holes for all of us to run through. We want to have a great week of practice leading up to next week’s quarterfinal game, with either Wheaton St. Francis or Genoa-Kingston.”  

“We came out fast and really took it to Wheaton Academy,” Anderson said. “We do not overlook anyone on our drive to the state championship. Our defense played great tonight and we could not have won this game, without  Josh (Jones), Anthony (Birsa), Niko (Paolini), Paul (Ragusa) and Luke (Sartori), our “Hogs”.

With 8:50 in the third quarter, Anderson rumbled in from 17-yards out and with his two-point conversion JCA led 42-6. 

With 6:25 remaining in the game, Hilltopper junior running back Justin Bonsu (four carries, nine yards, TD) scored from four-yards out for a 48-6 lead, initiating the 40-point running clock. 

“We had a great week of practice.” “The Hogs’ offensive tackle Josh Jones said. “We executed very well with our blocks and opened up huge holes for our backs… 540 yards rushing on the night.” 

“Another win for us and I was really happy with the way our defense rebounded from Wheaton Academy’s 97-yard scoring drive,” Jaworski added. “I was very happy with the way Aidan, Jordan and Vinny ran behind “The Hogs”.

“We will head up to Genoa tomorrow afternoon and scout the Wheaton St. Francis-Genoa-Kingston game and then look forward to a great week of practice.”

The Hilltoppers will meet, in an IHSA Class 4A Quarterfinal game Genoa-Kingston at Joliet Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 13 at 7 p.m. Genoa-Kingston defeated Wheaton St. Francis 27-3 this past Saturday to advance to the IHSA quarterfinal. 

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