Breaking It Down: Ty Isaac, running at three-quarters speed, is still better than most backs running full-steam ahead. Isaac, the USC recruit who has been plagued by injuries, rushed for a game-high 229 yards and scored three touchdowns in Joliet Catholic Academy’s 31-24 victory over Carmel at ATI Field Friday night in Joliet. Included was a 5-yard TD run in overtime that snapped a 24-24 deadlock.
The Hilltoppers then turned to their defense to come up with a stop and Zack Jackovich delivered. He intercepted a fourth-and-24 pass thrown by the Corsairs’ Nick Grandolfo at the goal line. Grandolfo’s 1-yard scoring run with 30.6 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. The interception was Jackovich’s fifth of the year and provided a fitting end to a game that started with a series of turnovers and miscues.
The two teams combined for six fumbles and one muff on a kickoff in the first 8 minutes. JCA notched its second straight OT win on its home field. The Hilltoppers defeated Nazareth Academy 34-33 on Sept. 14 at Joliet’s Memorial Stadium.
Patch’s MVP: Ty Isaac, senior, running back, Joliet Catholic Academy. Isaac rushed for 229 yards on 31 carries. He scored on runs of 1, 46 and 5 yards to help the Hilltoppers rally from 10-0 and 17-16 deficits. He also tacked on a two-point conversion and battled back from a couple of big hits that briefly sent him to the sidelines to catch his breath.
Carmel Stat Pack: Josh Walinski (26 carries, 160 yards rushing), Tim Serio (13 carries, 145 yards rushing, 1 TD), Nick Grandolfo (14 carries, 12 yards rushing, 1 TD; 1-of-3 passing, 22 yards, 1 interception), Grant Stredler (1 TD, recovered fumble in end zone), Steve O’Block (41-yard field goal).
JCA Stat Pack: Ty Isaac (31 carries, 229 yards, 3 TDs), Craig Slowik (4 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD; 7-of-11 passing, 146 yards), Jordan Jones (2 catches, 44 yards), Chris Tschida (4 catches, 44 yards), Brian Bravo (27-yard field goal).
Quotable I: “Unbelievable,” JCA coach Dan Sharp said. “Maybe they do (like to make it exciting). I tell you what, my cardiologist will get a workout if we keep playing games like this.”
Quotable II: “It’s a testament to who we are,” JCA coach Dan Sharp said. “We’re so banged up. We had a lot of games playing hurt and playing with a lot of courage, especially Ty (Isaac). Our offensive line just gutted it up. And our quarterback (Craig Slowik) played super. Then, of course, we have four turnovers and you don’t even expect to be in a game when you do that. To battle back from that, then having our defense make that stop in overtime, it was just outstanding.”
Quotable III: “We gotta score,” JCA’s Ty Isaac said of the Hilltoppers’ mindset going into overtime. “There were a lot of things they couldn’t stop the whole game. We were just making bad mistakes. We finally picked it up and got it together.”
Quotable IV: “I might be in the waiting room with him,” JCA’s Ty Isaac said after learning coach Dan Sharp talked about visiting his cardiologist if the Hilltoppers keep playing overtime ball.
Team Records: JCA, 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, all but clinched a playoff berth. Carmel is 2-5 and 2-3.
What’s Next: Carmel plays host to St. Patrick at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12. JCA is at Niles Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12.
Scores of Interest: Joliet West 28, Lockport 7; Homewood-Flossmoor 49, Joliet Central 0; Benet Academy 49, Nazareth Academy 0; St. Patrick 41, Marian Catholic 14. For more scores, go to IHSA ScoreZone.