Football: Providence wears out Joliet Catholic 21-10
By Pat Disabato email@example.com August 30, 2014 12:14AM
Michael Madej (1) of Providence looks to take on Joliet's Catholic's defender (36) Jordan Green in Friday nights football game August 29th 2014 in Joliet. | Tim Perroud~For Sun Times Media
Updated: August 31, 2014 2:14AM
Providence receivers Miles Boykin and Nate Vejvoda have garnered much of the preseason attention — and deservedly so. Boykin will attend Notre Dame and Vejvoda will head to Iowa to play college ball.
On Friday night, however, the Celtics showed they’re far from a two-man show. Joliet Catholic found that out the hard way.
Providence quarterback Justin Hunniford completed 24-of-31 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Celtics to a dominating 21-10 win over the host Hilltoppers.
“We have a lot of depth,” said Hunniford, a senior. “We’re five or six deep at receiver and we have two very good running backs. We have a lot to work with.”
Hunniford certainly spread the wealth, connecting with five different receivers in the first half. Wen push came to shove, he went to his go-to-guys, Boykin and Vejvoda.
Hunniford hit Boykin from 8 yards out at 5:01 of the second quarter to give Providence a 7-0 after the first of two extra-point kicks by Gavin McKendry.
The Celtics were then handed a gift moments later by Joliet Catholic. Faced with a fourth-and-one from their own 28 and less than four minutes remaining in the first half, the Hilltoppers tried for the first down. The Celtics defense, though, stuffed running back Nick Borgra.
Providence took over on the Joliet Catholic 28. Six plays later, Hunniford found Vejvoda from 4 yards out with 47.4 seconds remaining to extend the Celtics’ lead to 14-0.
“We didn’t execute a block and we came up about one inch short,” Joliet Catholic coach Dan Sharp said. “Not converting on fourth down put our defense in a tough spot. I questioned myself after that.”
To the Hilltoppers’ credit, they were able to get into field-goal range for strong-legged kicker Brian Bravo, who converted from 54 yards with 2.4 seconds on the clock. Bravo’s boot not only cut the deficit to 14-3, it gave Joliet Catholic some momentum entering intermission.
“Bravo is a great kicker,” Sharp said. “It was a big play before the half. I thought we’d get back into it.”
The momentum from the kick, however, failed to carry over into the second half. Instead,
The Celtics put together an 11-play, 90-yard drive, capped by a 7-yard TD run by Richie Warfield to make it 21-3 with 4:17 left in the third quarter.
“It was huge to get that touchdown,” Providence coach Mark Coglianese said. “They got a little momentum back with that kick, but for us to counter with that touchdown was a big boost.”
Joliet Catholic cut the deficit to 21-10 with 11:26 remaining in the fourth quarter when quarterback Cade Earl found a wide open Michael Johnson from 39 yards out.
The Hilltoppers, though, never threatened again. The Celtics defense, led by linemen Tyler Schiemann, David Charnot, Jake Rost and Luis Vasquez. Joliet Catholic’s running attack was held to 51 yards.
“We were able to prevent them from making the big plays,” Coglianese said. “The defense played very well and contained their backs.”
To compound matters for Joliet Catholic, Earl was carted off the field with a lower body injury after being sacked in the fourth quarter.
“The health of our quarterback is a big concern,” Sharp said. “We’re hoping he’s well.”