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Running the offense with some urgency was the priority for Carmel Catholic quarterback Nick Grandolfo.
And he provided a spark, with 16 carries for 78 yards and a rushing touchdown on senior night in Mundelein. And junior Joe Hoy (11 carries, 81 yards) broke loose for a 51-yard scamper for a touchdown.
"We had a little more fight, with this being the last game at home," Grandolfo said. "We didn't give up. Joliet (Catholic) was a tough team. They ran the ball well and scored. Not much we could do about that. We're a running program and passed a couple of times."
Over the long haul, though, Carmel Catholic couldn't keep pace with visiting Joliet Catholic in a 37-14 loss in an East Suburban Catholic Conference game Friday night.
The Corsairs saw their record drop to 1-6 and 1-4 in the ESCC, while the Hilltoppers improved to 6-1 and 4-1.
Carmel ended up with a spate of injuries that posed problems as the game went on.
"We never had so many injuries," Carmel coach Andy Bitta said. "But you can't play that way. (Joliet Catholic) came in banged up, too.
Joliet Catholic aired out its passing game the first two times they had the ball and scored a pair of touchdowns on just five plays.
Jordan Jones (5 catches, 131 yards) caught a 27-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Cade Earl (6 of 9 for 191 yards) 42 seconds into the game. Then Michael Ivlow (24 carries, 146 yards) scored on a 1-yard run with eight minutes left in the opening quarter for a 14-0 Joliet Catholic lead.
"We knew that (Carmel) was going to load the box," Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. "We wanted to open things up early and it set the tone the rest of the way. But the execution by our quarterback, receivers and our pass blocking on the first drive was excellent."
Carmel came back to cut the lead to 14-7 with 3:40 left in the first quarter as Hoy broke free for his long TD.
But late in the second quarter, Carmel fumbled a snap deep in its territory. Joliet Catholic nearly had 6 points trying to cover the loose ball. The Corsairs' Jake Kane fell on the ball in the end zone for a safety with 2:14 left.
The Hilltoppers extended their lead to 23-7 with 29 seconds remaining until halftime. Jones caught his second touchdown from Earl on a 21-yard pass play.
Joliet Catholic added two other scores in the second half, Ivlow with his second rushing score from 6 yards and Nick Borgra on a 1-yard run.
Grandolfo found the end zone on a 4-yard run for the Corsairs.
"We blew three coverages right away at the start of the game," Bitto said. "All week long, we were engaged to stop Ivlow at the line of scrimmage. We just literally made mistakes and found ourselves down 14-0. We at least have to make them earn it. Once we settled down we were OKafter that."