IC Catholic Prep stops Wheaton Academy shutout streak
Riding a four-game shutout streak, Wheaton Academy entered Elmhurst Friday night having allowed just two touchdowns all season.
The Warriors hadn't come across KJ Parker and Denzell Gibson yet.
The IC Catholic Prep duo put on quite a show, combining for six scores to lead the Knights to a 42-20 home victory and sole possession of first place in the Metro Suburban Blue.
Parker hauled in three touchdown receptions in the first half from quarterback Dennis Mandala, covering 70, 5 and 57 yards. ICCP (5-1, 4-0) led 21-6 at halftime.
"We knew we had to come out ready, especially after last year," Parker said. "Our coach didn't like how we played against them last year. So we had to cross our p's and q's and start fast. Our coaches had a great game plan and we were able to execute it."
The junior Parker, who finished with five catches for 142 yards, scored on a slant-and-go, a fade and a back-shoulder throw from Mandala, who completed 9-of-15 attempts for 188 yards.
"Dennis is underlooked as a QB," Parker said. "I think he's one of the best QBs. He's a hard worker, he never takes a day off. I think he should get 10-times more mentions then me, he's why I've been great. It's so special to play with such a great quarterback."
It was Gibson who provided the fireworks in the second half, first scoring on a 12-yard run to up the margin to 28-6 in the third quarter. He added a 41-yard TD before putting the finishing touches on the contest with a 90-yard scamper to the end zone late in the fourth.
Gibson rushed for 262 yards on 14 carries.
"I wouldn't be able to run through holes like that without the big guys up front," Gibson said. "We played team ball, I'm proud of these guys.
"It's very special, we have a lot of great skill players on this team. And this team is versatile, whether we are running or passing, we can do it all. In previous years, we were probably more a running team. But we've got wide receivers, running backs, just great skill players and it allows us to be very versatile on offense."
JP Schmidt led a stout defensive effort with a pair of interceptions. The Warriors came into the matchup averaging over 50 points a game.
"We had a lot of things we needed to fix from the Wheaton Academy game last year," ICCP coach Bill Krefft said. "That's one of the things we pride ourselves on, fixing us. I think we got a lot better from how we performed last year.
"We just played a really good football team and got tested."
Wheaton Academy (5-1, 3-1) received a pair of field goals from Declan Finnegan in the opening half. After halftime, quarterback Belay Brummel connected with Evan Eckert and Jalen Whitaker for touchdowns.
Brummel completed 23-of-38 passes for 301 yards. Breck Peacock had 10 catches for 124 yards and Zach Moravec hauled in four receptions for 85 yards.
"We've got good players," Wheaton Academy coach Jim Johanik said. "We knew the matchups and the challenges we would be facing. They are a great football program and they've got great athletes. But I'm proud of our guys and their fight.
"We have a lot of weapons offensively and they are going to continue to produce."