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Carmel’s 2-4 record may indicate the Corsairs are not their usual selves and No. 19 Joliet Catholic should take care of business Friday night in the Herald-News Season Pass Spotlight Game on HighSchoolCube.com at Joliet Memorial Stadium.
The record deceives.
“It’s a scary game,” said Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp, whose Hilltoppers (4-2, 3-1) are one game behind Marist in the East Suburban Catholic title chase and can clinch a playoff berth with a victory. “We are preparing for everything. They have nothing to lose. It’s a big rivalry game and a playoff game for them.”
Carmel (2-4, 2-2) has faced a difficult schedule and has done some things well, beginning with defense.
“Andy Bitto is a great coach for them,” Sharp said. “They’re tough defensively and run that triple-option offense.”
The Hilltoppers, though, have improved defensively, punctuated by last week’s 49-13 victory over St. Patrick, and may regain the services of linebacker/tight end Zach Rezin, who has missed much of the season after injuring a shoulder in the opener.
“Rezin’s probable,” Sharp said. “He and (lineman J.B.) Butler are our only two playing both ways. Getting him back will be huge.”
Having corner Grant Harrison on the field the last couple of weeks, albeit with a cast on his broken hand, has been huge as well. Brock Pluth, J.C. Wagner and Danny Weis are improving at the corners and so are safeties Keith Craig and Zack Jackovich.
Wingback Tyler Reitz is out. He played at less than 100 percent at St. Pat’s, until suffering a leg injury that forced his exit. Nick Pastore and Nate Dollinger will fill the void.
Wingback Ty Isaac, returned to full-time backfield duty last week and rushed for 287 yards in 23 carries, more than doubling his season output. In the 2011 opener against Carmel, Isaac turned a long pass from quarterback Craig Slowik in the final minute into a 75-yard touchdown play to pull out a 32-31 victory.