By Dan McGrath

A team piles up 352 rushing yards, scores seven touchdowns in 10 possessions, doesn’t punt once all night and has “explosive plays” of 55, 49, 47, 28 and 25 yards, you might say its offense had a great night. 

Yep. And Joliet Catholic’s defense was even better. The Hillmen held Leo without a first down or a pass completion in the first half. The Lions managed just 95 yards for the game, 36 on a last-minute touchdown pass that averted a shutout by a team that might have deserved one, given the way it swarmed to the ball and tackled with certainty and purpose. 

The final score was 49-8 at Joliet’s Busey Bank Field, and it wasn’t that close. The Hillmen led 35-0 at the halftime break, and a running clock was in effect for most of the second half. 

Joliet Catholic improved to 5-2 with a Homecoming win, its only losses to St. Rita and St. Francis, the Lions’ next opponent. 

Leo fell to 1-6 with a fifth straight loss. The best thing that can be said for the Lions’ season is that it’s almost over. 

HJ Grigsby ran for 83 yards on 12 carries with a 4-yard touchdown, all in the first half. Nate Magrini’s eight carries netted 55 yards and a 5-yard score, while Keegan Farnaus needed just four carries to collect 61 yards and touchdowns of 4 and 7 yards. 

The Lions didn’t fare much better against Joliet Catholic’s reserves; Larry Stringham popped loose for a 55-yard TD through phantom tacklers, while Vince Bremner’s two carries produced 28 yards and a 3-yard score. 

The Hillmen completed only one pass all night, but it was a dandy, Magrini hauling in Andrés Muñoz’s 49-yard touchdown strike. 

Leo’s 18 rushing attempts produced 28 yards, with seven of those attempts going for zero yards or negative yards. The Lions were 5-for-18 for 67 yards in the passing game with two interceptions. Neil Anderson had three catches for 60 yards, including a last-minute, 36-yard TD heave from Derrick Davis that was the closest thing to a highlight Leo could muster on a night that’s best forgotten.