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Tinley Park quarter back Christian Plumer is sacked by JCA's Matt Madrigal. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media
Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp has waited patiently for his stable of running backs to regain their health.
Well, the wait is over.
Ty Isaac, Mike Ivlow and Tyler Reitz combined for 318 yards rushing and six touchdowns to lead Joliet Catholic to a 42-21 win over Tinley Park in a Class 5A second-round match at Memorial Stadium.
The Hilltoppers (7-4), winners of 13 state championships, advance to play Lincoln-Way West, a 31-15 winner over Kaneland.
Isaac, a USC recruit, is finally at 100 percent since suffering a shoulder injury in Week 1.
“This is the first game where we’ve been able to feature all three (running backs) in a game,” Sharp said. “It’s like having a Ferrari in the garage but you can’t drive it. They’re all back and we’re finally driving it.”
Isaac led the way with 149 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, covering one, 25 and 14 yards.
Reitz had scores of 1 and 11 yards, while Ivlow, who amassed 102 yards on 11 totes, added a two-yard touchdown burst. Reitz finished with 67 yards on 13 carries.
JCA totaled 411 yards of offense. Credit the offensive line of J.B. Butler, Justin Hunter, Lino Bibian, Jalen Hansel and Brody Fay for muscling up on a determined but oversized Titans defense.
“Ty and Reitz pounded the edges and I pounded the middle,” Ivlow said. “Our line did a good job of pushing them. But Tinley Park was no joke. They were physical and played hard.”
Two quick touchdowns by Isaac staked the Hilltoppers to a 14-0 lead after one quarter.
JCA, however, could never take complete control of the game.
The Titans (6-5) kept hanging around, closing to within 14-7 and then 28-14 in the third before an 11-yard run by Reitz and two-yard score by Ivlow made it 42-14.
“I’m so darn proud of our kids and coaching staff,” Tinley Park coach Nick Johnston said. “They battled and never gave up.”
Christian Plummer (seven- and one-yard touchdown runs) and Corey Doss (70-yard fumble return) reached pay dirt for Tinley Park, which received outstanding performances from linebacker Derek Schultz (interception) and defensive lineman Edward Brown (forced fumble).
The Hilltoppers did a nice job containing Tinley Park running back Preston Thompson, holding the junior to 47 yards on 12 carries.
Plummer completed 14-of-23 passes for 175 yards and rushed for 33 yards.
“We were able to weather some situations,” Sharp said. “We gave up a couple of big plays. My hat’s off to the coaching staff and players from Tinley Park. That’s a tough group of young men.”