Tigers Beat Belleville West in Rd 1 – Ives Goes Wild!

Football: Joe Ives’ heroics help Wheaton-Warrenville South hold off Belleville West

Senior returns punt for TD, helps shut down Maroons’ star WR; Tigers hold on for 20-12 win.  Joe Ives can do just about anything on the football field.  Article written by:  JOSHUA WELGEE  Oct. 26, 2018  My Suburban Life

Just ask teammate Jack Kelly.

“The guy’s awesome,” Kelly said of his fellow Wheaton Warrenville South senior. “All parts of the game. He could probably play offense if he wanted to. He had a phenomenal game.”

He was indeed everywhere Friday.
Ives returned a punt for a touchdown, and had a second score called back. He was the holder for two Jack Olsen field goals.
Ives helped Cedric Rowzee shut down Belleville West star receiver Dominic Lovett, and intercepted a pass.
And the Tigers needed every last one of those heroics.
Belleville West’s pass into the end zone on the final play of the game sailed high and wide, and 14th-seeded WW South held on for a dramatic 20-12 win in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

He was indeed everywhere Friday.

Ives returned a punt for a touchdown, and had a second score called back. He was the holder for two Jack Olsen field goals.

Ives helped Cedric Rowzee shut down Belleville West star receiver Dominic Lovett, and intercepted a pass.

And the Tigers needed every last one of those heroics.

Belleville West’s pass into the end zone on the final play of the game sailed high and wide, and 14th-seeded WW South held on for a dramatic 20-12 win in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.

“I know our defense has it in them; we’ve been coming up big lately,” Ives said. “It was a little scary at the end, I’m not going to lie.”

The Tigers (9-1), which led 17-0 after Ives’ punt return on the first play of the second quarter, will take it.

This group has never been here before.

Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2014, WW South moves on to play at Hononegah, a 21-20 winner over Buffalo Grove.

“It’s never easy in the playoffs,” WW South coach Ron Muhitch said. “I know that. The kids needed to experience it. They did, and they survived it which is important for their development.”

WW South’s defense, which held Belleville West (7-3) to its second-lowest point total of the season, needed one last stop late.

Olsen’s 54-yard punt backed the Maroons up to their 11, but they methodically marched from there in 15 plays.

Jackson McCloskey completed his last five passes, taking Belleville inside the WW South 10.

After a pass interference in the end zone, McCloskey’s last pass sailed high and wide.

“We take pride in being the guys on the field at the end of the game,” said Kelly, a Tigers’ defensive end. “It was just another opportunity to show what we got. They played good football in the second half, but deep down we knew we weren’t going to let them in.”

The Tigers’ special teams, stellar all year, loomed large again.

Olsen made his first two field goals, from 35 and 44 yards, and booted two touchbacks. Brad George recovered a muffed punt.

Ives weaved his way to a 79-yard punt return on the first play of the second quarter, at the time giving WW South a commanding 17-0 lead. Prince Lankah earlier scored on a 6-yard run, on WW South’s first drive.

[Sean King for Shaw Media] “That [punt return] was a fun one,” Ives said. “I got a good block, it was a sideline return. I just saw hole and I knew it. We knew they weren’t solid on punts so I was trying to take every ball. It’s a playoff game, gotta get what you can get.”

Ives’ second score that was called back because of a holding penalty would have been a backbreaker and given WW South a three-touchdown lead into halftime.

Instead it set the stage for a close second half.

“I tell you, that kid got hosed on that penalty,” Muhitch said. “That would have been 27-6. That was a special game for that kid [Ives]. He’s a special player. If we score that touchdown before half, that game is over.”

Belleville West came in averaging 40 points per game. Lovett set a school single-season record with 23 TD receptions.

But, save for an 81-yard TD in the second quarter, Lovett was held to three catches for one yard. Count Kelly not surprised.

“We have one of the best cover corners in the entire state of Illinois,” Kelly said. “I’ll put Cedric Rowzee up against anybody. He held [Minnesota recruit] Tyler Nubin to 40 yards last week at St. Charles North. I’ll put him up against anyone.”

Henkel was 10-for-16 for 122 yards for WW South. Ives and Christian Shields intercepted passes.