Nazareth (6-1, 6-1) at Riverside-Brookfield (2-5, 1-2), 7 pm Friday night in Riverside, IL
Nazareth play-maker Kalium Ewing hauls in a catch
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
Nazareth (First place, East Suburban Catholic) –
Week One: 17-0 win vs Benet
Week Two: 27-3 loss at Carmel
Week Three: 35-19 win at Marian Catholic
Week Four: 35-32 win vs St. Patrick’s
Week Five: 33-20 win at Marist
Week Six: 24-21 win at Joliet Catholic
Week Seven: 42-13 win vs Notre Dame
Riverside-Brookfield (Third place, Metro Suburban) –
Week One: 20-14 loss at St. Francis
Week Two: 49-0 loss vs Lemont
Week Three: 28-0 win at Roby
Week Four: 30-18 loss at Rich East
Week Five: 25-20 loss at Ridgewood
Week Six: 39-21 loss vs Glenbard South
Week Seven: 28-0 win at Elmwood Park
Nazareth has been one of the surprise successes of the 2011 season. The Roadrunners have already clinched a playoff spot and currently sit in first place in the very competitive East Suburban Catholic conference. Nazareth went on the road two weeks ago and handed Joliet Catholic their first loss of their season. Head Coach Tim Racki called it a “legendary win” for the program.
The Roadrunners, appropriately, do the vast majority of their offensive damage on the ground. Nazareth had zero pass attempts in their week four victory over St. Patrick’s. Junior running back Rudy Romagnano, the team’s leading rusher to that point, injured his ankle on the first play of the Joliet Catholic game and has not played since. It has not been announced whether Romagnano will play this week, but backup running back Joshua Moore has done well taking over as the team’s workhorse. Moore had 37 carries for 176 yards and a touchdown against Joliet Catholic and 17 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame last week.
While the Roadrunners have not gone to the air much this year, quarterback Sam Poulos had his most productive game of the year last week against Notre Dame. Poulous completed six of his eight pass attempts for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 66 yard touchdown pass to Sean Maloney.
PLAYER TO WATCH:
Kalium Ewing, DB/WR, Nazareth
The Roadrunner play-maker has scored touchdowns in three straight games in three different phases. Ewing returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week against Notre Dame, caught a 45 yard touchdown pass against Joliet Catholic and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown against Marist.
Nazareth 35 Riverside-Brookfield 13
The Bulldogs, coming off their second win of the season last week, might be able to hang with the Roadrunners for a quarter or two, but in the end the Nazareth running game will be too much.
After playing the 2-5 Bulldogs this week, Nazareth will wrap up the season next week against 1-6 St. Viator. The upstart Roadrunners have a great shot of entering 5A playoffs with an 8-1 record.