Breaking It Down: In a game that went back-and-forth and featured a number of offensive explosions, who would have gussed Marist's 56-51 victory over Joliet Catholic Academy on Friday night would hinge on a couple of goal line stands by the RedHawk defense.
A wild battle ended in controversy as the Hilltoppers spiked the ball on fourth-and-goal from the RedHawk 1 to stop the clock with 1.2 seconds remaining. Both the referees and the Hilltoppers thought they had another down, while the rest of the crowd knew the game was over.
After the referees huddled up, they agreed. Game over.
A Nic Weishar 15-yard touchdown from Ian Woodworth with 1:10 left proved to be the game-winner. The Hilltoppers marched down the field but time became an issue. With the ball at the RedHawks 8 with 22 seconds remaining, quarterback Craig Slowik rushed for the end zone but came up just short and the clock running. Then came the spike and the confusion.
In the third quarter, the Hilltoppers had a chance to tie the game at 35 after having the ball first-and-goal. The RedHawk defense stepped up again as Ty Isaac fumbled and Shannon Smith recovered with 1 minute left in the quarter. The RedHawks took advantage as Woodworth hooked up with Ryan Meyer for a touchdown to make it 42-28.
The game was a non-stop thriller as the two teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense. The RedHawks got on the board just 2 minutes into the game when Woodworth hooked up with Meyer for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 7-0. The Hilltoppers came right back just 22 seconds later when Slowik hooked up with Malin Jones for a 68-yard touchdown. But JCA missed the extra point, making the score 7-6.
The RedHawks closed out the quarter with a 14-6 lead after Woodworth found Weishar for a touchdown. The Hilltoppers struck in the first two minutes of the second half on an Isaac touchdown run to make it 14-13. The RedHawks made it 21-13 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Woodworth.
The Hilltoppers tied it at 21 after Jones ran in for a touchdown and Isaac converted the two-point conversion. RedHawk running back Peter Andreotti had the next two scores to make the score 35-21. The Hilltoppers closed out the half scoring a touchdown with no time left as Slowik found Isaac for score.
The fourth quarter was filled with the dominant play of D-I recruits Isaac and Jones. Isaac scampered in early to make it 42-35. After Andreotti scored his third touchdown to give the RedHawks a 49-35 lead, the Hilltoppers struck back to tie the game in just two offensive plays. The first touchdown was a 61-yard run by Isaac. Then, after getting the ball back, Jones ran one in from 77 yards out to tie the game before the heroics by Weishar.
The RedHawks are currently tied in the loss column with Nazareth, which plays its final conference game on Saturday against St. Viator.
Patch’s MVP: Nic Weishar, Marist. In a game filled with many worthy candidates, it was Weishar who caught the game-winning touchdown from Woodworth with 1:10 left.
Marist Stat Pack: Ian Woodworth completed 35-of-45 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a TD. Peter Andreotti scored three touchdowns. He finished with 106 yards on 21 carries. Ryan Carroll made 16 catches for 214 yards. Nic Weishar had eight catches for 103 yards and a touchdown, and Ryan Meyer added six catches for 159 yards and a touchdown.
Joliet Catholic Stat Pack: Ty Isaac rushed for 190 yards on 22 carries. He also had 71 yards on four catches. Isaac scored three touchdowns on the ground and one in the air. Malin Jones had two touchdown catches and one touchdown run.
Quotable I: “I am so proud of you guys,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said. “We battled through adversity all season long, and we able to win these last two games doing just that.”
Quotable II: “We have had a lot of fun these last couple of weeks, scoring a lot of points," Marist wideout Ryan Carroll said. "It is always good to go into the playoffs on a winning streak."
Team Records: Both teams close the regular season with 7-2 records. The RedHawks finish with a 7-1 mark in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, while the Hilltoppers finsh with a 6-2 conference mark.
What’s Next: Both teams will find out on Saturday night who they will be playing in the IHSA state playoffs. The RedHawks will be competing in Class 8A, while the Hilltoppers figure to be in Class 5A.
Scores of Interest: Providence 24, Mount Carmel 18; Sandburg 31, Homewood-Flossmoor 28. For more scores, visit IHSA ScoreZone.
Scores of Interest: Brother Rice 45, Leo 40; go to ihsascorezone … link to ihsa site here.