Ty Isaac's doctor may have won a football game on Friday night at Forest View Stadium in Arlington Heights.
Isaac sure won one for his Joliet Catholic football team against a St. Viator team that was persistent to the end.
Isaac, a senior tailback committed to USC, wasn't expected to play while still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in the season opener.
"The biggest surprise tonight was when the doctor gave Ty the clearance," said Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp after his team survived 33-20 in the East Suburban Catholic opener. "He wasn't going to play at all, but obviously he was in my ear when he got the OK."
And then he was in the Lions' backfield, seemingly rushing effortlessly for 100 yards on 9 carries, the first coming late in the second quarter.
Although he played sparingly and with a "little soreness," his touches were crucial.
His most crushing blow came on a fourth-down-and-3 play at the Lions' 42-yard line with 1:52 left in the game and his team holding a 27-20 lead.
Just when it looked like he might be stopped by a few defenders in the backfield, he turned the corner and got just enough for the first down.
"Without Ty out there, I don't know if we lose," said Lions coach Brandon New. "We'd have four guys hit him but he would still bounce off them."
Three player later, Isaac raced 36 yards for the touchdown which made it 33-20 with 1:31 left.
"That kid is gifted," New said. "He was definitely the difference in the game. I'm so proud of my kids. We lost to this team 63-3 a year ago. This time, we played them to within a touchdown in the final minute. If we play like this every game, good things will happen."
Good things were happening for St. Viator in the first half.
On three different occasions when the Lions lined up to punt, they ended up retaining the football. The first one was a fake punt by John Balas who ran 23 yards for a first down. The second was due to a holding penalty and a third when Jack Brandt recovered a loose football that hit off a Joliet Catholic player.
Six plays after Balas' fake point, Lions quarterback Bobby Calmeyn threw a 9-yard TD pass to Ben Dickey for a 6-0 lead.
But Joliet (2-1) rallied for a 13-6 lead at half on 20 and 1-yard touchdown runs by Michael Ivlow.
The Lions tied the game at 13-13 when Mayo Arogundade raced 10 yards for a TD with 3:29 left in the third quarter.
Isaac gave the Hillmen the lead for good with a 15-yard run on the final play of the third quarter.
Ivlow's third TD on a 3-yard run made it 27-13 before Calmeyn threw a 10-yard TD pass to Joe Faerber with 3:39 left in the game.
"We believed we could win," said Calmeyn, who threw for 195 yards and 2 TD," said. "And now we believe we can play with anyone. We have to keep playing like this."
"This is a big win," Sharp said. "That's a well-coached football team. Brandon New is doing a great job."