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Isaac calls 515-yard performance ‘irrelevant’ after JCA finishes second to Montini

JCA's Malin Jones, left, and Ty Isaac embrace after a state championship loss to Montini. The two combined to rush for 702 yards in the loss. (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

JCA's Malin Jones, left, and Ty Isaac embrace after a state championship loss to Montini. The two combined to rush for 702 yards in the loss. (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

Joliet Catholic Academy’s Ty Isaac had the greatest running performance in state championship football history Saturday, but he didn’t savor the moment after the game.

Despite the running back’s 515 yards on 26 carries and six touchdowns, the Hilltoppers dropped a 70-45 decision to Montini High School in the Illinois High School Association state championship game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

“It wasn’t even something you could enjoy, it was something we needed,” Isaac said. We had to put points up. At the end of the day, it was really irrelevant.’’ (Photos: Montini/JCA explode)

JCA coach Dan Sharp gives a final speech to his players after a 70-45 loss to Montini Saturday. (Jeff Vorva/Tribune)

With 6 minutes and 40 seconds left in the first half, Isaac had already broken the Class 5A title record of 210 yards, set by Rock Island’s Alonzo Wise in 1997. With 48 seconds left  until halftime, he had 376 yards, breaking  a school record and the all-time IHSA rushing record for yards in a state title game regardless of class. Maine South’s Matt Perez had the previous mark in a Class 8A title game with 316 yards against Marist in 2009.

While his team had a 31-28 halftime lead, the Hilltoppers were outscored 42-14 in the second half. Isaac had 135 yards in the second half but also had two fumbles. He finished the season with a school-record 2,629 for the season.

“We won’t relax during the offseason,” he said. “But there may be a time when I can enjoy this season. When we go to banquets, we can think ‘OK, this year was great.’ But this year is over. On to next year.”

The game shattered several offensive records for state championship games, including most points by one team (Montini’s 70), most points by two teams (115), most yards by one team (Montini’s 853) and most years by two teams (1,644).

JCA finished with 791 total yards including 747 on the ground. Northwestern-bound Malin Jones ran for 187 yards on 27 carries for JCA.

The Hilltoppers (11-3) ended the regular season in a similarly wild game as they dropped a 56-51 East Suburban Catholic Conference decision to Marist. They shook off that loss and went on to outscore their first four playoff opponents by a combined score of 194-35.

“You can get humbled when you give up 70 points,” JCA coach Dan Sharp said. “We picked a bad time to play a bad defensive game. If we would have played like we did last week (a 49-7 victory over Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin) maybe we could have held them to 50.”

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