Hailey too much to handle as JCA stops St. Viator

 
By Greg Swiderski
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/7/2018 11:29 PM
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Joliet Catholic's Keenan Hailey, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior running back, was unstoppable.

Hailey rushed for 254 yards on 24 carries and scored 4 touchdowns in the Hilltoppers' 55-10 East Suburban Catholic opener at Robert Morris Stadium in Arlington Heights on Friday night.

The Lions were hoping to snap an 0-for-27 streak against Joliet Catholic (2-1, 1-0).

"Hailey is a very special runner," said St. Viator coach Dave Ambrose. "Our defensive line didn't break down as much as Joliet Catholic has some serious power. They were just very good at executing their offense. We had some missed tackles and they were able to take advantage of it."

Hailey, who broke last year's 204-yard performance against Notre Dame, scored on a pair of 1-yard runs, a 6-yard run and capped it with a 80-yarder.

"I felt confident in my ability to run through the holes," said Hailey. "I'm a hard runner, and I knew when to lower my shoulder for extra yards. We had to put last week's loss to Immaculate Conception behind us and get ready for the first East Suburban Catholic Conference game."

The Lions (0-3, 0-1), despite the final score, played some good football during the game and it gave Ambrose and St. Viator quarterback Jack Mahoney some positives.

"I don't think the score reflects the effort we had tonight," said Ambrose. "We did some good things to build on. When you play in the ESCC, you don't have any easy games. This team will continue to fight and we'll get some wins."

Mahoney rushed 13 times for 37 yards and completed 11 of 20 passes with 1 interception for 102 yards.

"It wasn't easy coming into this game 0-2, "said Mahoney. "With a break or two here and there we could be 2-0. We're hoping to get a few wins and I am trying to utilize my run and pass game to our advantage."

"Tonight our offensive line (Ryan McGuire, Athan Huelskamp, Jeremiah Pittman, Javier Sanchez, and Mack Crouse) gave me time to make some plays. Despite the score we showed JCA that we'll fight and scrap."

The Lions did just that.

Trailing 13-0 he Lions drove the ball well to score with 7:19 left in the first half on Giuseppe Maffei's 25-yard field goal to make the score 13-3.

The Lions tried to get on the board late in the quarter but Mahoney was intercepted in the end zone by Kurt Weis to snuff out a scoring chance.

Hilltoppers quarterback Jordan Alvarez (4-for-7, 110 yards, 1 TD) connected on a 30-yard touchdown pass to Izaiah Murphy with 10:05 left in the third quarter for a 27-3 advantage.

St. Viator bounced back and drove 71 yards in 15 plays on a 2-yard run from Elijah Black (14 carries, 58 yards) with 3:38 left in the quarter to cut the lead to 20-10.

The first play after kickoff Hailey raced the 80 yards and the Lions could not recover.

Joliet finished their scoring on Nick Iannantone's 2 yard run, Justin Alvarez' 7-yard run and Luke Weis' 35-yard interception return.

"Hailey is just a workhorse for us," said JCA coach Jake Jaworski. "He's been carrying the load for us this year. This game was similar to our Week 1 win against St. Rita. It's always good to get a road win in the ESCC."

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