By Sean Maloney ‘22

In week 7 of the Illinois high school football season, powerhouses Brother Rice and Joliet Catholic met on the gridiron on Chicago’s south side. Brother Rice entered the game ranked #2 in the Chicago area by the Chicago Sun-Times, while JCA entered ranked #3.

Both schools boasted electric offenses with Division 1 players. The game was projected to be high scoring, and those projections were spot on.

Just minutes into the game, Rice struck first on a 5-yard touchdown scamper from Aaron Vaughn. Following the touchdown run and PAT, kicker Jack Welniak kicked an onside kick and recovered it himself. Rice scored again to open the game up with a 14-0 lead.

“We controlled all of the momentum early on. We had them on their heels,” said junior running back Eddie Condon.

Joliet Catholic’s offense also started off fast, scoring on their first two possessions. The Hilltoppers’ offense is led by Illinois running back commit Jordan Anderson. Throughout the first half, both teams went back and forth. Both offenses would score, then give the ball back to the other offense who would score. The teams were tied at the end of the first half, at 35-35 apiece.

Throughout the third quarter, Joliet Catholic’s run game could not be stopped.

“Defense just couldn’t stop Jordan Anderson and their rushing attack,” said senior guard Carter McAlilly.

The Hilltopper defense, however, recorded a couple of stops. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score was 56-42, with JCA leading.

The Brother Rice defense was able to get a couple stops in the fourth quarter to help out the offense. The offense took advantage of it and scored on a touchdown pass from Jack Lausch to tight end Henry Boyer. With just a few minutes left, the Crusaders knew they had to attempt an onside kick.

Unfortunately for them, the kick was recovered by the Hilltoppers. From that point on, Joliet Catholic ran out the clock to end the game. The final score was 56-49.

“The offense did what they’ve done all year long. The defense has yet to really show who they are and I think these upcoming games they will make their statement,” said senior offensive tackle Dan Curran.

Brother Rice looks to bounce back at Marian Catholic. Joliet Catholic moves on to play Benet Academy, hoping to continue their undefeated season.