IHSA football state championship recap: Sacred Heart Griffin loses to Joliet Catholic in 4A

Bill Welt
State Journal-Register

The Sacred Heart-Griffin Cyclones lost to the Joliet Catholic Academy Hilltoppers 56-27 on Friday night in the championship game of the Illinois High School Association Class 4A football playoffs.

SHG (12-2), of the Central State Eight Conference was playing in its 11th football title game. The program now is 5-6 all-time in championships, with victories in 2005, '06, '08, '13 and '14. 

JCA (14-0) — the champion of the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference's orange division — extended its state record with its 15th state title.

The two program now have met five times in the playoffs, all wins by JCA, including the 1975, 2003 and 2021 title games. They also met in the 2000 quarterfinals and 2011 semifinals.

Below are updates from the title game in DeKalb:

More state finals coverage

Game story:Joliet Catholic too much for SHG in Class 4A football state championship

Outlook, predictions:What to watch and predictions

Column:SHG's road to football title No. 6 doesn't end. It only continues

9:25 p.m. — JCA kneeling it down

The Hilltoppers stop SHG and take over with less than two minutes remaining. All that remains are a few kneeldowns, and JCA will win its 15th state title.

SHG 27, JCA 56 | :45 4Q

9:16 p.m. — JCA back delivers fifth TD

Joliet Catholic senior running back Jordan Anderson now has 30 carries for 303 yards and four TDs after short TD run late in fourth quarter. He also has a two catches for 68 yards and one TD. 

SHG 27, JCA 56 | 3:25 4Q

9:08 p.m. — SHG receiver hauls in second TD catch

Junior receiver Madixx Morris catches 10-yard TD pass from junior quarterback Ty Lott to trim SHG's deficit late in the fourth quarter. Morris has five catches for 102 yards and two TDs.

SHG 27, JCA 49 | 5:27 4Q

9:01 p.m. — Hilltoppers take one step closer to title

Jordan Anderson rumbles into the end zone for his third TD run and fourth overall. He's up to 258 rushing yards on 26 carries. 

SHG 20, JCA 49 | 9:17 4Q

8:53 p.m. — Hilltoppers stay in control going into fourth

Joliet Catholic gains first down to start drive at end of third quarter. Hilltoppers are 12 minutes away from 15th state title. 

SHG 20, JCA 42 | 12:00 4Q

8:44 p.m. — Iannantone responds with TD run

Joliet Catholic's Vinny Iannantone plows into end zone from goal line. He has 100 yards rushing and two TDs. Jordan Anderson also passed 200 yards rushing on the drive. 

SHG 20, JCA 42 | 3:30 3Q

8:33 p.m. — SHG delivers first punch in second half

Tommy Thoma recovers onside kick and quarterback Ty Lott throws 30-yard TD pass to KeShon Singleton.

SHG 20, JCA 35 | 10:28 3Q

8:10 p.m. — Hilltoppers cruise into halftime with lead

Joliet Catholic quarterback Aidan Voss' Hail Mary pass attempt is batted down but the Hilltoppers enter the break with big lead.

SHG 13, JCA 35 | Halftime

8:02 p.m. — Lott connects with Morris

Junior quarterback Ty Lott dials up three straight passes to Madixx Morris, including 6-yard TD pass. 

SHG 13, JCA 35 | 0:44 2Q

7:58 p.m. — Hilltoppers take advantage of turnover

Malachi Hood recovers fumble and Vinny Iannantone scores his first TD run from the goal line.

SHG 6, JCA 35 | 1:18 2Q

7:49 — Anderson catches deep TD pass

Joliet Catholic senior running back Jordan Anderson records third touchdown, this time on a 32-yard reception from quarterback Aidan Voss. 

SHG 6, JCA 28 | 4:31 2Q

7:38 p.m. — Anderson rushes over 100 yards en route to score

Joliet Catholic senior running back Jordan Anderson has 145 rushing yards and two TDs on 12 carries following 35-yard TD run.

SHG 6, JCA 21 | 9:36 2Q

7:32 p.m. — Hilltoppers end first quarter ahead

Joliet Catholic forces second straight punt and will begin second quarter with the ball after scoring on first two drives. 

SHG 6, JCA 13 | 12:00 2Q

7:26 — Hilltoppers march down the field

Joliet Catholic senior quarterback Aidan Voss completes first pass to Jake Fieldman for an 8-yard TD toss to complete an 8-play drive. PAT failed.

SHG 6, JCA 13 | 1:00 1Q 

7:13 p.m. — Anderson answers with score

Senior running back Jordan Anderson scores 2-yard TD run on 4th-and-goal for a second fourth down conversion on Joliet Catholic's opening drive. PAT is good.

SHG 6, JCA 7 | 5:24 1Q

7:01 p.m. — Stewart goes the distance

Junior receiver DeAndre Stewart returns the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and Sacred Heart-Griffin leads Joliet Catholic 6-0 following failed PAT.

SHG 6, JCA 0 | 11:47 1Q

Meet SHG's stable of running backs

Sacred Heart-Griffin football is proving it can win despite not having a clear-cut No. 1 running back option. Again.

The Cyclones’ run game features a rotation of Richard Jackson, Brett Puckel and Bill Sanders. The three have combined for 1,267 yards and 31 touchdowns on 195 carries.

Now this group has a chance to join that 2014 group in another way if they can win one more game: state champs.

Run game:Read more about SHG's deep and talented backfield

Meet SHG's defensive leaders

Sacred Heart-Griffin senior outside linebacker Salomon Dessalines believes a leader is sometimes required to speak up in certain moments.  

How vocal did he become during the Cyclones’ 49-42 Class 4A semifinal win over Rochester on Friday?  

Defense! Meet the 2 linebackers who rallied SHG to the title game

“I lost my voice,” Dessalines responded hoarsely the following day.  

Dessalines and fellow junior outside linebacker Cory West constitute an essential part of the defense heading into Friday's title game.

SHG vs. JCA pregame news 

SHG semifinal:Sacred Heart-Griffin rallies to thrilling victory at Rochester

JCA semifinal: 'Drive for 15' continues with rally against Richmond-Burton

Meet the SHG QB:Why Ty Lott is Springfield's top breakout player so far

SHG WR duo:How two prolific wide receivers are adding to Sacred Heart-Griffin's rich history

400 wins:Sacred Heart-Griffin coach Ken Leonard first in Illinois to reach milestone

SHG quarterfinal:Cyclones go wild in win over Breese Central

SHG first round:3 takeaways from Sacred Heart-Griffin football's playoff win over Columbia