JOLIET, Ill. -- Trailing by a point at halftime, the Joliet Catholic offense needed a spark. Thankfully for them, the second half was full of fireworks as the Hilltoppers scored three straight touchdowns and beat Providence 25-13.
Joliet Catholic, which eventually racked up 200-plus yards on the ground, got an early touchdown when junior running back Malin Jones scampered 29 yards. But that would be it for a while for the Hilltoppers, who trailed 7-6 at the half after running just 10 plays on offense .
“We stuck to our game plan and just waited to get into a rhythm,” said Joliet Coach Dan Sharp.
Providence used tremendous clock control and methodical drives to keep the ball away from Joliet’s vaunted running game. The Celtics capped the first half off with a 2-yard touchdown run by Dan Potempad.
Joliet scored on the first drive of the second half, going 65 yards in 9 plays to regain the lead at 12-6. From there, the once-consistent Providence offense began to sputter, going three-and-out on its first possession then turning the ball over on its next one. Two plays later, Joliet Catholic senior running back Josh Ferguson galloped 51 yards for the score that seemingly put the game away. Three second half turnovers doomed Providence, which fell to 0-2.
The Hilltoppers had lost six straight to Providence coming into Saturday.
Player of the game: Joliet Catholic linebacker C.J. Haney. The senior made a big impression defensively, recovering a fumble for a touchdown and intercepting a pass in the red zone late in the game.
Stat of the game: Providence turned the ball over three times in the second half, including a fumble recovery that went 31 yards for JCA touchdown.
It was over when: Providence senior quarterback Joe Houlihan fumbled into the end zone for a touchback while trailing by 12 in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the night: “We could have gone for steaks in the first half and been back in plenty of time.” -- Joliet head coach Dan Sharp in reference to only running 10 offensive plays in the first half.