In an offensive battle, Marist upset No. 14 Joliet Catholic 56-51 on Friday night to claim at least a share of the East Suburban Catholic title.
Marist can win the title outright if Nazareth loses to St. Viator on Saturday.
"I couldn't be more proud," Redhawks coach Pat Dunne said. "These guys showed persistence against a great Joliet Catholic team."
Marist quarterback Ian Woodworth threw for 557 yards, including four touchdown passes, and running back Peter Andreotti had 110 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Woodworth also rushed for a touchdown.
The fireworks were there from the start as Marist struck on its first possession, with Woodworth finding Ryan Meyer for a 31-yard touchdown.
Joliet Catholic hit back immediately with a short pass to Malin Jones that he took for a 68-yard touchdown catch. The Hilltoppers missed the extra point, and would then find themselves chasing Marist for the majority of the contest as the teams traded scores at a rapid pace.
After trailing 49-35 in the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers finally caught up, putting a scare into Marist. Joliet Catholic scored two straight touchdowns, first on Ty Isaac’s 61-yard run on first down and again three minutes later on Jones’ fourth touchdown -- a 77-yard reception to knot the game at 49-49.
But the Redhawks had the final answer with about a minute to play, as Woodworth's 15-yard throw to Nic Weishar on third-and-3 sent Marist up 56-49.
Joliet got the ball back one more time and used four straight completions to reach the Redhawks' 8-yard line. But the Hilltoppers were held by Marist as time nearly ran out on fourth down. Marist conceded a safety to put the game's final score at 56-51.
For Marist’s receiving crew, Ryan Carroll had 15 catches and 214 yards, Meyer finished with 150 yards and two touchdowns and Weishar also scored twice.
"It was definitely a grind against Joliet Catholic. They're good, and they wanna hit,” Carroll said.
Isaac caught a touchdown passes for Joliet Catholic and Zac Rezin caught one. Jones rushed for 211 yards for the Hilltoppers.
Player of the game: QB Ian Woodworth, who scored a touchdown and led his team to another seven with 557 yards on 35-for-45 passing.
It was over when: Joliet Catholic squabbled the clock down on fourth-and-1, handing 1.2 seconds, possession and the game to Marist.
Quote of the night: Nic Wieshar, who had two touchdowns, "We worked hard...and proved we have the heart to beat any team."