CHAMPAIGN—The majority of successful high school football teams are built on defense and a rock solid running game. Risks are kept to a minimum at all costs.
Nazareth is startlingly different. The Roadrunners beat St. Charles North 31-10 in the Class 7A title game on Saturday at Memorial Stadium and it was a showcase for their speedy wideouts Michael Love and Diamond Evans.
“Their big play potential is shocking,” St. Charles North coach Rob Pomazak said.
Evans had four catches for 83 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown catch. Love had four catches for 58 yards and seven carries for 92 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown run.
“[Nazareth quarterback JJ McCarthy] threw a beautiful ball and Diamond was my lead blocker,” Love said. “He’s probably the best blocker in the state in terms of a wideout. He goes 100 percent every play and I knew I could trust him and we made it happen.”
Love’s touchdown came with 3:14 to play in the second quarter. Evans’ made it 21-3 in the third quarter.
“This has been very emotional for me personally,” Nazareth coach Tim Racki said. “I’ve never coached this number of seniors for this many years. I have a special relationship with this senior group so to see them go out on top was something that I’ll never forget.”
McCarthy, just a sophomore, is one of the state’s special talents. He was 15 for 24 for 201 yards and one touchdown. He threw for more than 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns this season.
St. Charles North (10-4) has been led by dynamic senior Tyler Nubin all season. He dominated Mount Carmel in the semifinals, but was contained by the Roadrunners.
“I’m very impressed with how our kids executed the game plan in terms of containing Nubin because he is one heck of a football player,” Racki said. “He got some yards but a credit to our defense they did slow him down, which helped.”
Nubin had 15 carries for 74 yards and two receptions for 11 yards.
Nazareth (13-1) has been on an incredible run recently. The Roadrunners won Class 6A in 2014, Class 5A in 2015 and finished second in Class 6A last season. This was the school’s first year in 7A.
“We knew we had to work hard because we were bumped up to 7A and it would be a little tougher than last year,” Love said. “We definitely grinded and it paid off.”
Racki, who previously coached at Driscoll has won seven state titles.
Tags: Nazareth, St. Charles North