No.1 Hilltoppers “Drive for 15” continues at No.2 Richmond-Burton, Saturday 

Drake Skleba for Joliet Catholic Academy 

Joliet Catholic at Richmond-Burton
Saturday, November 20; 2 p.m. Kickoff
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On Saturday morning, the Hilltoppers of Joliet Catholic Academy will hop on their buses and continue their drive towards their unprecedented 15th IHSA State Football Championship. “The Drive for 15” will make a stop in Richmond, Illinois. 

Awaiting our unbeaten No.1-seeded Hilltoppers (12-0) will be the defending unbeaten Class 4A State Champions and the No. 2-seeded Rockets of Richmond-Burton (12-0). The Rockets, on Saturday afternoon, escaped Chicago’s Gately Stadium and the Chicago Phillips Wildcats 27-26. With the win, the Rockets advance to  Saturday’s Class 4A Semifinal at Richmond-Burton at 2 p.m. 

The Rockets huge victory on Chicago’s “Southeast Side” was their 32nd-consecutive victory. 

The Hilltoppers advanced to Saturday’s Class 4A “Final 4” showdown by rolling past No.4-seeded Genoa Kingston 42-7. The quarterfinal victory was the Hilltoppers 18th-consecutive victory. 

With a win at R-B on Saturday, the Hilltoppers will advance to the Class 4A State Championship Game at Northern Illinois University on Friday night, November 26th at 7 p.m. 

The Hilltoppers would face  the winner of Friday night’s Class 4A Semifinal, between Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (11-1) at Rochester (11-1). 

Richmond-Burton Rockets 

The Village of Richmond is located in McHenry County on the Illinois-Wisconsin border. 

On November 29, 2019, the Rockets completed the 2019 season with a 50-14 Class 4A State Championship victory over downstate Murphysboro, finished a perfect 14-0. In the spring, the Rockets were a perfect 6-0 and the 2021 Rockets are a perfect 12-0. 

This is the Rockets 29th trip to the IHSA State Football Playoffs. This is the Rocket’s 13th consecutive trip to the playoffs, with a 37-27 record. The Rockets have one IHSA State Championship and an IHSA State Runner-up trophy. 

The 2021 Rockets are Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue Division champions. In Week 9, the Rockets defeated conference-rival Marengo 40-24 to wrap up their undefeated regular season. 

In the Class 4A playoffs, the Rockets have defeated Chicago Sullivan 56-0; Stillman Valley 56-6 and Chicago Phillips 27-26. 

The Rockets have averaged 42.9 points-per-game and have allowed 10.3 points-per-game, this season. 

The Rockets are coached by their IHSFCA Hall of Fame head coach Mike Noll.

In his fourth year at the helm of the Rockets, Noll has a 41-2 record with the 2019 IHSA State Football Championship. Noll has successful, coaching stints at McHenry (16 years, 142-28) and at Glenbrook South (12 years, 82-43). 

In the Chicago Phillips victory, Rocket junior quarterback Joe Miller hooked up with senior fullback/linebacker Brock Wood for six, to tie the game at 26-26. After sophomore place-kicker Jeff Lehn’s point-after-touchdown, the Rockets led 27-26. 

With under a minute remaining in the game, Rocket senior defensive back Landon Jacoby intercepted a Phillips pass in the end zone to seal the quarterfinal victory and “get out of Dodge” unbeaten”  

Joliet Catholic Academy

This is the 41st appearance in the IHSA State Playoffs for JCA. The Hilltoppers have won a record 14 IHSA State Football Championship and have been IHSA State Football Runner-Ups four times. 

The Hilltoppers are Chicago Catholic League-East Suburban Catholic Conference Orange Division Champions.

In the IHSA 4A playoffs “The Hill” has defeated Kishwaukee River/Interstate 8 Blue Division member Marengo 48-0, West Chicago Wheaton Academy 48-14 and Genoa-Kingston, 42-7. 

The Hilltoppers have averaged 44.8 points-per-game and allowed 16 points-per-game, this season. 

The Hilltoppers are under the tutelage of head football coach Jake Jaworski (JCA ’92) 

Jaworski has a 39-14 overall coaching record and led the Hilltoppers to the 2018 IHSA Class 5A State Championship. The 2019 Hilltoppers advanced to the Class 5A Quarterfinals and this past spring, the 2020 Hilltoppers (6-0) became the 12th Hilltopper squad to finish the season unbeaten. 

The Hilltoppers offensive line, aka “The Hogs” 

Josh Jones (6-2, 290), Anthony Birsa (6-2-265), C Niko Paolini (6-1, 295), Paul Ragusa (6′ 215) and Luke Sartori (6-4, 335) make up 1,400 pounds of “The Hill’s” offensive line.

The elusive senior quarterback Aidan Voss 

Senior quarterback Aidan Voss has completed 45 of his 83 passing attempts for 1,058 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

Voss can run, too.

He has rushed for 545 yards on just 48 carries, with seven touchdowns.  

Voss to Fieldman 

Voss’ favorite receiver, senior Jake Fieldman, has hauled in 27 of Voss’ tosses for 725 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

“The Deadly Duo” plus one 

“The Deadly Duo”, Hilltopper senior running backs Vinny Iannantone and Jordan Anderson, have rushed for 2,708 yards with 42 touchdowns. Iannantone, has ran for 1,586 yards with 18 touchdowns. 

Anderson has rumbled for 1,122 yards and 24 touchdowns. Anderson has six receptions for 118 yards and two receiving TDs. 

Senior fullback, Ryan Louthan, has rushed for 398 yards with a touchdown. The multi-talented Louthan has also hauled in six passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, also assisting “The Hogs” with his blocking. 

The Hilltoppers “D”  
Mike “King Michael” Rouse

The Hilltoppers All-State senior linebacker, Mike Rouse,  leads the Hilltopper “D”.

“King Michael”was a man-possessed, as he was all over the field against Genoa-Kingston.

Junior defensive ends, Billy Burke and Jeremy Johnson, caused  havoc on Genoa-Kingston. 
Defensive backs Danny O’Brien and Bryant Weston, had interceptions against G-K. 


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