Marmion blanked by Joliet Catholic
Joliet Catholic has been aiming to be more than just a one-man show in its running game.
While senior HJ Grigsby is a dynamite weapon to have as the backfield leader, he has had several sidekicks emerging to help him out in recent weeks.
Junior Larry Stringham got his chance to shine Friday night and he delivered, running for a 21-yard touchdown on the Hilltoppers' second offensive play and adding a 4-yard score.
"It felt great getting those runs," Stringham said. "It felt amazing. It starts with our line and blocking from our other running backs, too. (Grigsby) had a great block outside on that first touchdown run.
"Cam Juricich, Brady McKeon, (Michael) Lynch, (Jake) Jakovich, all the linemen out there were doing a great job."
Grigbsy added a pair of touchdown runs and the Hilltoppers piled up 411 rushing yards, rolling to a 45-0 win over Marmion in a CCL/ESCC crossover.
Grigsby finished with 129 yards on 11 carries, while Stringham totaled 75 yards on just six carries for Joliet Catholic (6-2). Vince Bremner and Preston Coleman each added a touchdown run.
Benjamin Morcos had an interception and a 23-yard catch, while Joseph Favia ran for 37 yards on 14 carries for Marmion (2-6), which was outgained 420-96 in total yards.
Grigsby is enjoying seeing his teammates step up and appreciating the help in the backfield.
"It's great," Grigsby said. "All those guys are stepping up and it's good to see them all coming on. We've got so many guys that can do so many different things. They're just getting used to the game, they got their feet wet early in the season and got a lot reps in practice and now it's all definitely coming into play.
"With playoffs coming up, we're playing fast and physical and that's what we like to see."
Junior Keegan Farnaus, who had three carries for 71 yards, has emerged as a strong second option in the Hilltoppers' backfield in recent weeks. Friday night, Stringham showed what he can do, as well.
"Larry's a tough dude," Joliet Catholic coach Jake Jaworski said. "He's a football player. He started off more as a defense-first guy this year, but with the depth there, we brought him over. He's a physical runner, a physical blocker, just an old-school football player."
Stringham knows he has a strong role model in Grigsby.
"He shows me to run hard and never stop competing," Stringham said. "It's great because they're keying on HJ and when someone else gets the ball, it's like we have 10 yards right away. It's amazing."
Wisconsin recruit Dillan Johnson led a dominant defense for Joliet Catholic, producing a sack and a tackle for loss. Junior linebacker Daniel Rouse also had a big night with three tackles for loss.
"We were just working as a unit, making sure we didn't make any mental mistakes," Johnson said. "The d-line wanted to attack and be aggressive. The defensive backs and linebackers had to make sure they stayed on all their keys. Overall, it was just us all working together. If everyone does their job and handles their responsibility, we shut people out."
Joliet Catholic built a 17-0 lead after one quarter and extended it to 38-0 by halftime behind touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards from Grigsby.
With rain falling for much of the game, Grigsby knew it was a night for the running game to shine.
"It took me back to last year when we played Benet and it was pouring down raining," Grigsby said. "This year, we already knew what the case was going to be. It was going to be a get-down, physical game and we came away with the win running the ball.
"Gotta love it."