Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers triumph over SGH for IHSA Class 4A State Championship; a IHSA-record 15th title

“The Hogs”, “The Deadly Duo” and the Hilltoppers, triumph over SHG for IHSA Class 4A State Championship 

Drake Skleba for Joliet Catholic Academy 


“The Drive for 15” has been completed.

Behind the massive Joliet Catholic Academy offensive line, affectionately known as “The Hogs”, the Hilltoppers (14-0), rushed for 468 yards, a Class 4A State Championship Game record and ran over Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 56-27 for the 2021 IHSA Class 4A State Football Championship. 

The IHSA Class 4A State Championship trophy, won on Friday night at NIU, will join 14 others in the JCA trophy case on Larkin Avenue. 

The unprecedented 15th IHSA State Football Championship, increased the Hilltoppers lead to two, over the fellow Carmelites of Chicago Mount Carmel, who have won 13 IHSA State Football Championships. The Hilltoppers and the Caravan are 1-2 in the state in IHSA Football State Championships.

“The Deadly Duo”

Senior wingbacks, Jordan Anderson and Class 4A All-State wingback senior Vinny Iannantone, combined for 439 of “The Hill’s” record-breaking 468 rushing yards. 

Anderson set a new Class 4A State Championship Game rushing record, with 306 yards and four touchdowns. Jordan also hauled in two passes for 68 yards and a touchdown reception from Hilltopper Class 4A All-State quarterback Aidan Voss (4-for-9, 95 yards, two TDs; five carries, 21 yards). 

Iannantone scored a pair of touchdowns and rumbled for 133 yards, while also catching a 19-yard pass from Voss. 

Senior fullback Ryan Louthan added 24 yards on five fullback carries.

Iannantone closed out the 2021 season with 1,855 yards and 21 touchdowns. Vinny’s legendary “Big Bro” Nick led the Hilltoppers to the 2018 Class 5A State Championship over Montini, with a Class 5A State Championship Game record 40 carries, for 318 yards and three touchdowns. 

Nick Iannantone (JCA ’19) finished the 2018 season with 1,677 yards and 17 touchdowns. 

The future “Fighting Illini” Anderson finished the season with 1,583 yards and 30 rushing touchdowns and also caught three receiving touchdowns.

After Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin’s (12-2) junior DeAndre Stewart set a Class 4A State Championship Game record with a 99-yard opening kickoff return for six, JCA trailed 6-0, 13 seconds into the game. 

JCA head football coach Jake Jaworski and his Hilltoppers had the SHG Cyclones right where they wanted them.

The Hilltoppers answered with a 16-play, 73-yard drive,capped off by a two-yard run by Anderson. After Hilltoppers’ sophomore place-kicker Pat “Mr. Automatic” Durkin’s point-after-touchdown, “The Hill” never trailed again.

Voss to Fieldman

With one minute remaining in the first quarter, Voss connected with his favorite receiver, senior Jake Fieldman, from eight yards out to increase JCA’s lead to 13-6. 

The Hilltopper defense, led by junior defensive ends Billy Burke and Jeremy Johnson, who each sacked SHG’s Class 4A All-State Quarterback Ty Lott (14-for-23, 210 yards, three TD 1 interception), picked up their third consecutive three-and-out.

Anderson, rumbled 32 yards for his second touchdown of the game with 9:36 in the first half. Anderson also added the two-point conversion, for a 21-6 Hilltopper lead. 

Senior cornerback Ian Williams picked up his second interception in two weeks with eight minutes remaining in the first half and returned it to the Cyclone 31.

“It was amazing to pick up my second pick in two weeks,” Williams said. “Everything was in slow-motion out there on the interception. I really wanted to take it back for a touchdown. It would have been awesome to get a “pick-six” in the 4A State Championship Game.” 

JCA increased their lead to 28-6 when Voss hooked-up with a wide-open Anderson for a 32-yard touchdown strike. 

Iannantone rumbled in from 2-yards out for a 35-6 Hilltopper lead with 1:18 left in the first half. 

Lott then connected with junior Madixx Morris (five catches, 105 yards, two TDs) from six-yards out to pull the Cyclones within 35-13 at the half. 

SHG recovered their second half opening on-side-kick, pulling within 35-20 on a 30-yard scoring strike from Lott to junior KeShawn Singleton (four catches, 35 yards, TD).

“The Hill” would respond with a 12-play, 69-yard drive, capped off by Iannantone’s second touchdown from two yards out for a 42-20 lead. 

Anderson rumbled 32-yards to extend the Hilltoppers’ lead to 49-20 with 9:17 remaining in the game.

“It was an outstanding feeling for me to have helped us to win the state championship,” Anderson said. “As always “Our Hogs” were outstanding. This was my last game and I am happy that I left everything on the field.”  

“Jordan and I have been described as the “Deadliest Duo” backfield in the nation,” Iannantone said. “Behind “The Hogs” we showed that tonight. I am happy to have rushed for more yards this season, than my big brother Nick. Nick was not surprised by my accomplishment. He always said I was better than him in football.” 

“It’s an amazing feeling to have won the state title. We won this for the 2020 seniors, who did not have a chance to win state. They helped make this happen for us,” Iannantone concluded. 

SHG’s Lott connected again with Madixx from 10-yards out to close within 49-27. 

With 3:25 remaining in the game, Anderson scored his fourth rushing touchdown (fifth total) of the game from six-yards out to close out the scoring 56-27.

“After playing running-attack teams (Genoa-Kingston and Richmond-Burton), in which I personally like to play against, we faced a strong passing attack tonight,” Hilltopper senior captain and linebacker Mike “King Michael” Rouse said. “Our secondary played great and our defensive line put a lot of pressure on Lott. This was an awesome run we have had this year. We won this for our seniors in the spring, who did not have a chance to do what we have done tonight.” Rouse concluded. 

Rouse was elected 2021 JCA Homecoming King and now he is an IHSA State Football Champion. 

“Here at JCA we have the greatest offensive line in the nation,” Hilltopper offensive tackle Josh Jones said, “The Hogs” are the best!” 

The Voss Family

Almost 34 years ago, in 1987, then Hilltopper senior quarterback Jonathan Voss connected with senior Ty Isaac from 23-yards out to lead Joliet Catholic past Peoria Richwoods 14-13 for the 1987 IHSA Class 5A State Championship. The IHSA State Football Championship, was the sixth for Joliet Catholic.

On Friday night in DeKalb, father Jon Voss’ pride-and-joy, son Aidan, had just helped lead “The Hill” to their 15th IHSA State Football Championship. 

“It feels great to win a state championship, just like my dad,” Voss said. “My whole life I have heard how he led us to a state championship. He would always tell me how he was All-State. This really was the motivation I needed to achieve this success. When I got into high school, I worked very hard in the weight room and improved every year. Now I can say I was All-State and a 2021 IHSA State Football Champion.”

Joliet Catholic Academy Head Football Coach Jake Jaworski

In just his fifth year at the helm of the Hilltoppers, “Coach Jaws” (JCA ’02) will wear his second IHSA State Football Championship ring. “The game certainly didn’t start the way we wanted it to,” Jaworski said. “I am so proud of all the guys up here and all the Hilltoppers, for the way they responded. These guys have been working very hard every day since back in the spring. This group has won 20 consecutive games and now this state championship. Jordan rushing for 306 yards on 30 carries is a great accomplishment.”

After the Hilltopper victory, Jaworski spoke to his players.

“I was fortunate to be part of our 2000 and 2001 State Championship teams. I am so happy that you are all able to have this amazing feeling, that you will remember for the rest of your lives. You have also established an unbreakable “Brotherhood” with each other, also for the rest of your lives,” Jaworski concluded.

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