8/24 7:30 H
5A Semi Finals vs.Joliet (Catholic)(12-1)
Fairy Tale Ends
LaSalle (Fellows Stadium) - The Cavilers had rebounded from a 4-5 2002 season, to becoming the Cindrella team of 5A, but a fairy tale spoiling Hilltopper's team showed up and squished any thoughs of Champaign dreams for the small river town.
There was an air of hope hovering above Howard Fellows Stadium on Saturday afternoon, that was almost as thick as the clouds over head. That hope was packed in tight at a stadium that had already been at near capcity an hour before game time.
In their first semi final game since 1979, the Cavaliers looked to be a bit timid as the stalled on the first drive of the game and had to punt after three plays.
The mood was still in good spirt as the Cavaliers, who weren't accustom to blowing out their opponents, punted to Joliet Catholic. But you'd have to think that head coach Greg Sarver might have never punted in this game had he know that the Hilltoppers would score on their first 4 possessions along with a recovered blocked punt. Which helped put them up 35-0 by half time.
The Hilltoppers who have scored 51 plus points in all but one of their playoff games resembled their 1999 4A State Champion team, as they played one of their best games of the season against a stunned LaSalle-Peru team.
Brad Bourg (sr. QB 6' 180) was the force behind the Hilltoppers' offense, as they pushed closer to winning their 11 State Championship & will now appear in a record 13th title game.
Bourg, while only passing for 4 of 7 with 62 yards & a TD, made his first 3 passes consecutivly. Those three passes where when JC, after two penalties, was faced with a 2 & goal situation from the 32 yard line. Bourg found Bobby Buchanan for a 20 yards reception & a 12 yards touchdown reception, which helped put the Hilltoppers a head 14-0 just before the end of the 1st quarter.
Bourg, would also rush 11 times for 119 yards with 2 TDs, while also catching an 8 yard TD pass from Billy McKeon (so. RB 5'10 170).
Chris Clancy, Mike Hooks & Dan Hrvatin would all contribute rushing TDs for the Hilltoppers. But the real story of the game may have been a steel curtin like defenseof Joliet that recorded a blocked punt, which was returned for a defensive TD an Alex Duffy (jr. DB 5'9 165) interception along with with sacks by Jim Jadron (sr. OL/DL 6'5 295) & Matt Gurka (jr DL 6'3 242).
Joliet stopped the Cavaliers from getting passed mid field on all but 2 drives. On of of those drive was the first play after Joliet's last score. Up 56-0 with just 3 minutes left and a running clock in effect, Steve Zidow (jr. QB 6'1 161) would take matters into his own hands as he busted loose to go 71 yards for the lone LaSalle score of the day.
That run helped bring a still at capcity LaSalle crowd to their feet and give the Cavaliers a total of 137 offensive yards for the day, as well as a standing ovation as an this bunch of over achievers walked off the field one last time as champions in the heart of a town.
by Vincent Johnson
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