Preps Talk

2 Days to Kickoff: Nazareth Academy

Preps Talk

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Nazareth Academy

Head coach: Tim Racki

Assistant coaches: Casey Moran, Joe Reynolds, Rudy Luna, Brody Budmayr, Jeff Tumpane, Joe Battaglia, Steve Gray, Andy Miller and Larry White

How they fared in 2018: 13-1 (6-1 East Suburban Catholic Conference). Nazareth made the 2018 7A state playoff field and defeated Andrew, Hersey, Simeon and Batavia. They advanced to the state title game and defeated St. Charles North 31-10.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 31 vs Cardinal Ritter (MO)
Sept. 6 vs Curie
Sept. 13 vs Fenwick
Sept. 20 @ St. Laurence
Sept. 27 vs Leo
Oct. 4 vs De La Salle
Oct. 11 @ Marist
Oct. 18 @ Notre Dame
Oct. 26 @ Benet Academy

[MORE: 73 Days to Kickoff - Fenwick] 

Biggest storyline: It's a pretty simple one-- Can Nazareth Academy win back-to-back Class 7A state titles?

Names to watch this season: QB J.J. McCarthy (Jr., Michigan) LB Marcus Griffin (Sr.) and WR Tyler Morris (Soph.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Roadrunners will need to replace all five starting offensive linemen from a season ago.
 
EDGY's Early Take: The Roadrunners are seeking a repeat of last year's Class 7A championship. Not a bad feat for a program that has been "success factored" by the IHSA for the past two seasons. They have an actual enrollment of 772 and a miltiplied enrollment of 1274, which is much closer to what you would find at a 5A school. Head coach Tim Racki's offense will be spearheaded by junior four star-ranked  QB J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), who has a stable full of talented receivers and backs led by junior RB Derrick Strongs, sophomore WR Tyler Morris and incoming transfer junior WR Landon Morris (6-foot-6, 205 pounds). Morris is another intriguing D-1 talent to watch this season. The defense has experience back. They're led by senior DT C.J. West, senior LB Riley Theobald and senior LB Marcus Griffin. Junior DE Ryan Keeler (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) had multiple Power Five scholarship offers this summer. If the Roadrunners can find the right pieces along the offensive line, they have a great shot to hoist a first place trophy Thanksgiving weekend in DeKalb.