Nazareth Academy: The Road to DeKalb II


LaGrange Park, IL- Welcome back to the second installment of our Road to Dekalb series. Today we will continue hearing from some of the players who helped the Roadrunners reach the IHSA Finals for the second consecutive year. Here we go:

There are many stars on the 2015 edition of Nazareth football but WR/RB/CB Julian Love is a really special young man and a great athlete. Quiet on and off the field, he let’s his superior talent be his form of leadership. The senior, who is headed to Notre Dame University next year, is one of the best athletes this writer as ever watched play high school football (and I’m 56!).

Julian Love with Dr. Tom Nelson

I had the opportunity to chat with Jlove after his 4 touchdown and 281-yard rushing performance against St. Laurence last Saturday.

“It was a fun game. Ya know I love that there was a lot of snow. It’s kinda of our makeshift Turkey Bowl, ’cause we’re gonna be somewhere else next weekend. ” Love joked.

He continued about the next game versus Lincoln-Way West from New Lenox, “I know the coaches will be ready tonight and by tomorrow they will have a full game plan ready. So when we get back at it Monday, we’ll know what we’re going up against.”


Love is a kid at heart as he explains his affinity for snow, “It’s all mental because I’m a snow person. I love snow and appreciate it. It’s (winter) my favorite season. I just thought about it like, I’m here to have fun and it’s one of our last games at Nazareth. So I’m gonna go out with a bang.” A ‘bang’? How about a very loud explosion? That sounds more accurate, Jlove. IMG_1331

Being a sophomore starter on Coach Tim Racki’s Nazareth football team is not totally unique. Racki’s done it maybe once or twice in his illustrious career. Center and long snapper Gavin Smith is another second year player up with the varsity.


Smith had a great game against St. Laurence, he was involved in so many plays (including a forced fumble on a Viking’s punt return), I jokingly asked if he played defense too.

Smith on the game, “The weather was rough at first, it was hard getting footing in the snow but I think it was a good game. The snap wasn’t too hard to get off. We had those heaters on the sidelines and the coaches were real helpful keeping everything dry.”

I asked Smith how he and some of his fellow Roadrunners played with no long sleeves, “It’s mind over matter and once you get out there you forget everything and just play football.” He continued, “It’s real exciting. I wasn’t on the team that went down state last year, so it’s a first for me and I can’t wait.”

Kudos to the entire offensive line for their great run blocking for Kelly-Martin and Love. It was quite impressive. Lincoln-Way West is about to find this out Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

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