Nazareth coach Tim Racki is taking his sixth team to a state championship football game at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Nazareth coach Tim Racki is taking his sixth team to a state championship football game at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Photo by Jeff Vorva.

Area Sports Report: Nazareth finishes run to Class 5A state title game

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By Jeff Vorva
Staff Writer

Nazareth has played in five state championship football games.

But the Roadrunners never took a road this bumpy to get there.

After opening the season 1-3 and at one point being 2-4, they had to run the table just to make it to the playoffs.

Mission accomplished. They beat Leo, Montini and Benet to squeeze out an 11th-seed out of 16 teams in the Class 5A North bracket.

They needed four more wins to get to the title game.

Mission accomplished again, as Nazareth beat Rockford Boylan, Morgan Park and top-seeded Sycamore, 10-7, the latter victory coming on the road Nov. 19.

The Roadrunners (9-4) take on Peoria (12-1) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign. They will be gunning for their fourth state championship.

Zach Hayes’ 33-yard field goal in the second quarter and his 7-yard touchdown reception from Logan Malachuk in the fourth quarter helped Nazareth pull off the win. Hayes also kicked the extra point and had an interception on defense.

Peoria had an offensive explosion in its 76-56 victory over Morris in the other semifinal game. The teams’ combined point total is the 12th-highest scoring game in IHSA history.

 

ROADRUNNING TO THE TITLE GAME

A look at Nazareth’s state title games:

YEAR   CLASS     SCORE                                        SITE

2014     6A    Nazareth 26, Lemont 7                 Champaign

2015     5A    Nazareth 42, LW West 21             DeKalb

2017     6A    Prairie Ridge 28 Nazareth 21       DeKalb

2018     7A    Nazareth 31, St. Charles N. 10      Champaign

2019     7A    Mount Carmel 37, Nazareth 13    DeKalb

 

Cougars win
Several area college teams were involved in national tournaments last week.

Saint Xavier’s women’s volleyball team (24-8) knocked off Central Methodist in the NAIA Opening Round 15-25, 18-25, 25-21, 29-27, 15-9 on Nov. 20 in Fayette, Missouri. The Cougars will play in the 24-team National Championship Tournament that begins Nov. 30. They will open against Eastern Oregon at 10 a.m. and follow up with a 10 a.m. battle with Cornerstone.

Against Central Methodist, senior Chloe Memenga had 19 kills and 16 digs, senior Molly Hackett slammed down 17 kills and sophomore setter Kaleigh Ritter added a season-high 51 assists.

 

Cougars lose
The Cougars football team had a rougher time of it Saturday with a 41-7 setback against Marian (Indiana) in the NAIA Championship Series First Round in Indianapolis.

Stuart Ross hit Amari Venerable for a 20-yard touchdown strike to knot the game at 7-7 with 8:27 left in the half, but Marian went on to score 34 straight. SXU finished the season 9-3.

 

More national matters
Moraine Valley Community College’s women’s volleyball team went 0-2, dropping a pair of five-set heartbreakers in the National Junior College Athletic Association in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Freshman Brooklyn Condon had 34 kills in the two matches while Shepard grad Kaila Butvilas added 21.

Morton College made it to the NJCAA Men’s Soccer finals and ran into an old foe in the championship game.

Skyway Conference foe Prairie State beat Morton, 1-0, at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona to finish 19-1-1. During the regular season, Morton beat Prairie State 4-3 on Sept. 13 and 2-1 in overtime in overtime on Nov. 6.

Former Sandburg and Notre Dame distance runner Dylan Jacobs, now at Tennessee, finished fourth in the NCAA National Cross Country meet with a time of 28:58 in the 10K race in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

 

St. Laurence bows out

The Vikings football team was eliminated from the Prep Bowl playoffs with a 30-18 loss to Fenwick in the semifinals on Nov. 17.

Vinny Enoch and Tommy Fus had touchdown runs and Evan Les threw a TD pass to Kaden McHugh for the Vikings (4-7).

 

Wright sticks with Stars

Arin Wright, a defender who has been with the Chicago Red Stars since 2015, re-signed with the club for a two-year deal.

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