Preps Talk

EDGY: The joy of Thanksgiving Day practices

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EDGY: The joy of Thanksgiving Day practices

One of the special moments for players and coaches this week, as they prepare for the IHSA state final games, is the Thanksgiving Day practice.

Nazareth Academy head coach Tim Racki has had more than his share of Thanksgiving practices, first with Driscoll Catholic and for the past two years with the Roadrunners.

“Thanksgiving Day practice is an awesome experience," Racki said. "It's just a unique feeling. It just feels special because you know that you are one of only 15 other teams out on the field while everyone else is at home."

Racki said it’s a unique day for the players as well.

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"Practice on Thanksgiving Day just makes you feel even more grateful and thankful for still playing. It's also special when those senior can walk off the practice field for the last time knowing they are leaving on their own terms. Only a handful of seniors still playing high school football at this time of the year can say that and that makes it special."

Nazareth, 34-0 winners last week over St. Laurence in the 5A semifinal, faces Lincoln-Way West in the championship. The game can be seen live at 10:00 A.M. Saturday on CSN Chicago and via live stream at csnchicago.com and the NBC Live Extra app.

Racki, who missed out on last season’s Thanksgiving Day practice because a massive flu outbreak at Nazareth, is hoping to bring back a tradition going back to his Driscoll Catholic days.

"We call it the Senior Spike. All of the seniors are allowed to come up with an end zone dance and spike. It's a great fun way to end the day and then go home and have dinner with the family."

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

34 Days to Kickoff: Bartlett

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.


School: Bartlett


Head coach: Mark Erlenbaugh


How they fared in 2017: 2-7 (2-3 Upstate 8 Valley Conference), Bartlett failed to qualify for the 20127 IHSA state football playoff field.
2018 Regular Season Schedule:
Aug. 25 @ East Aurora
Aug. 31 vs Glenbard East
Sept 8 vs Glenbard South
Sept. 14 @ Elgin
Sept. 21 @ West Aurora
Sept. 28 vs West Chicago
Oct. 5 vs Larkin
Oct. 13 @ South Elgin 
Oct. 19 @ Streamwood


Biggest storyline: Can the Hawks soar in the newly realigned Upstate 8 conference?


Names to watch this season: QB Dean Kotsovetis WR Austin Gates


Biggest holes to fill: The Hawks will need to fill in several spots this summer especially upfront on the offensive and defensive lines due to graduation losses.


EDGY's Early Take: Bartlett new head coach Matt Erlenbaugh comes in from Chicago Solorio and takes over the Hawks football program. Look for Bartlett to have a chance to challenge in the newly realigned Upstate 8 schedule. The Hawks schedule this season won't include the likes of several 2017 state playoff teams like Lemont, Prairie Ridge and St. Charles East.

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

35 Days to Kickoff: Oak Forest

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 July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Oak Forest

Head coach: Brian McDonough

How they fared in 2017: 4-5 (3-3 South Suburban Conference). Oak Forest failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 vs Pekin
Aug. 31 @ Niles Notre Dame
Sept. 7 @ T.F. South
Sept. 14 @ Hillcrest
Sept. 21 @ Eisenhower
Sept. 28 vs T.F. North
Oct. 5 vs Tinley Park
Oct. 12 @ Bremen
Oct. 19 vs Lemont

Biggest storyline: Can the Bengals get back into the IHSA state playoffs this season?

Names to watch this season: LB Anthony Kluk and OL/DL Julian Ramirez

Biggest holes to fill: The Bengals will need to reload on both sides of the football especially on offense with the graduation losses of several starters including QB Tyler Morrison and RB Waitari Wilson.

EDGY's Early Take: It was a rare season for the Bengals in 2017, having missed the IHSA state playoff field for the first time since 1999. Look for Oak Forest to rely on its defense while a newer group on offense develops. The Bengals and veteran head coach Brian McDonough will need to get out to a good early start with a front-loaded regular season schedule.