8/26 12:00 @
Week #12 vs. Morris
Go West Young Men
Joliet (Memorial Stadium) - The Morris Redskins came into Joliet Memorial Stadium for the third time in coach Dan Darlington's career and for the third time some young men have been sent back west down interstate 80 with their season over.
While it's hard to call any match up that includes six games played over 80 years as a rivalry. It would also be equally as hard Friday night to tell anyone of the 8,000 plus fans from Joliet Catholic or Morris that it wasn't.
While both teams have a loyal fan base that follows their teams to the furthest edges of Illinois. Only a short stretch of highway separates these two football powerhouses & that close proximity may have helped created one of the greatest rivalries that never was.
When asked to rank this JC/Morris game with the previous, Joliet Catholic head coach Dan Sharp would only say "It's there. It's every game, it's like this."
Sharp also wanted all the "old timers" to know that this was their kind of game. "Playing in the dirt with old blck hitops on. This was an old NFC Central game." He went on to add that it was one of the best defensive games his teams has ever played.
Joliet's defensive coach Cory McLaughlin & Morris's defensive coach Denny Steele, would match each other step for step through the entire night. "They always seem to be tough defensive games" Sharp added and early on it was evident that both defenses had come out to play.
Morris struck first, but by no means was it quick. The Redskins did get on the board with a field goal on their first drive after they forced Joliet to punt after getting just one first down.
But the Hilltoppers defense would be the reason that they had to kick. After driving down field from their own 45 they were stopped at the 8 yard line after getting a first & ten inside the 10.
Once the Hilltoppers got the ball back they put together an 80 yard drive pounding the ball down the field & running six minutes off the clock before Chris Clancy (jr. RB 6'2 215) scored on a rush from 4 yards out to help JC take a 7-3 lead to start the second quarter.
Morris, who won the coin tossed had deferred to the 2nd half, but after receiving the ball to start the 2nd part of the game, the offense stalled out and punted after only gaining 6 yards. The Redskins would get lucky as the Hill's Jake Trader ran under and past a short punt only to have it bounce off the back of his helmet and get scooped up by Chris Cryder of Morris.
Cryder who had the ball almost bounce into his arms, was able to advance the ball another 15 yards to put Morris at the Hilltopper's 25 yard line. John Goolsby would find Steve Naser open and hit him for a 22 yard gain, setting up John Dergo (so. RB 5'11 185) for a 3 yard touch down run to put Morris up 10-7 with 10 minutes left in the third.
Things looked like they started to be swaying in favor of the Redskins though as a fumble at the JC 44 would be recovered by Morris on Catholic High's first possession after the Morris touch down.
The Redskins however couldn't capitalize and increase their lead and both teams waged a defensive battle that kept both teams from scoring for 13 minutes.
The Hilltoppers threatened late in the third, but Cryder was there again to help out Morris and sacked JC's Brad Bourg on 4th & 7 on the Morris 17.
Tim Collins (sr. DL 6'3 215) & Andrew Kolodziej (sr. DL 5'9 200) decided to get in some sacks for the Hilltoppers as well and helped force Morris to go three & out on the next possession.
The Hilltoppers would only need to get a first down before sophomore standout Billy McKeon would break a 48 yard run. McKeon's sideline sprint would put JC up by 3 and Nate Hudetz extra point would solidify a lead that could only be broken by a Redskin TD.
Coach Sharp mentioned that he was a little worried going into the fourth "I though it was going to end 10-7." He went on to complement the run McKeon's had "We were fortunate enough to break that one big one...But Billy Mckeon & the poise that he has, it was amazing".
While this rivalry is definitely not going away anytime soon, a reminder of some of JC's other rivalries was evident when the second biggest eruption from the Joliet crowd came after it was announced that Providence had lost to Minooka.
by Vincent Johnson
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