Nazareth gamble doesn’t pay off in overtime loss to Joliet Catholic
Nazareth Academy's quarterback # 16 Jack Bartels looks down field to pass vs Joliet Catholic Academy held at Joliet Memorial Stadium on Friday, September 14, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 18, 2012 5:45PM
JOLIET — USC-bound star Ty Isaac had a nightmarish night Friday for Joliet Catholic, and the Hilltoppers were in danger of losing to Nazareth for the second straight year.
Tyler Reitz and a much-maligned Joliet Catholic defense had other ideas.
Reitz scored the game-winning 10-yard touchdown run in overtime and Matt Madrigal pressured Nazareth quarterback Jake Bartels into an incompletion on the potential game-winning two-point conversion as the host Hilltoppers held on for a 34-33 East Suburban Catholic win.
“The whole game I had been putting up blocks and doing what I know how to do,” Reitz said. “It felt great to get the ball and score the game-winner.”
After Reitz gave Joliet Catholic (3-1, 2-0) the lead on the first play of overtime, Nazareth (2-2, 0-2) drew within one on the third TD run of the night by Josh Moore (21 carries, 146 yards), a 1-yard plunge.
The Roadrunners went for the win, but Madrigal forced Bartels to rush a throw off his back foot that had no chance of finding a receiver.
“It was a total team effort on defense,” Madrigal said. “We had to bail the offense out a couple times and it’s a great feeling knowing we can do it.”
Isaac (22 carries, 107 yards, 2 TDs) lost three fumbles, and one was returned 10 yards by Nick Murphy for a touchdown to bring Nazareth within 27-25. A two-point conversion pass from Bartels to Zach Manuel (13 catches, 132 yards) tied the game.
“We’re a team and whenever someone’s going down, the rest of us have to step up for him,” said Reitz, who ran eight times for 58 yards and added a 27-yard TD catch.
Craig Slowik (10-of-15, 168 yards) completed all six of his first-half passes and led the Hilltoppers to a 14-13 halftime lead. Michael Ivlow had an 8-yard TD run for Joliet Catholic.
Pick up your local Pioneer Press newspaper on Sept. 20 to read more about the Nazareth football team.