CSNChicago.com is your top destination on the road to the 2014 high school football season. CSN preps contributor “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran spotlights one team per day in the CSN Preps Power Rankings, counting down to kickoff on August 29.
No. 25: Joliet Catholic Hilltoppers
2013 record: 10-2 (6-1); won the 2013 East Suburban Catholic Conference title. Lost to Montini Catholic 22-21 in the Class 5A state quarterfinal round.
The Hilltoppers remain one of the top traditional powers, not just in the ESCC, but within Class 5A and the state of Illinois. Joliet Catholic will need to reload a bit on the offensive side of the ball this season yet also welcomes back a senior dominated defense this season that made major strides in the 2013 season.
Areas of concern: Joliet Catholic has seen its overall numbers in the football program drop. The Hilltoppers still have plenty of talent yet the sheer numbers and overall depth will be an issue all season. Also the early schedule is loaded and if the Hilltoppers get off to a slow start they could easily find themselves in an early hole.
It will be a good season if: The Hilltoppers find its running game early and get off to a good start in 2014. JCA opens up at Joliet Memorial Stadium against area rival Providence Catholic then also travels to take on both Wheaton North and Carmel.
Headliners: The Hilltoppers will run the ball as usual and the offensive line is key. Junior OL/DL Tyler Witt (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) showed real promise a season ago and Witt could be asked to pull double duty and play on both sides of the line this fall.
Biggest game: Sure, whenever the Hilltoppers plays local rival Providence Catholic in anything it's a big deal. Yet for my money, mark Saturday October 11th on your calendar. That's when JCA travels to take on Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park and the up-and-coming Roadrunners know that to win the ESCC title you need to beat JCA.