Nazareth changes the momentum, knocks Glenbard South out of playoffs
The Nazareth football team enjoyed a number of celebrations in the south end zone on Friday night.
So why should the postgame be any different?
The Roadrunners scored 28 points in the first half to cruise to a 48-22 running-clock victory over Glenbard South in a Class 5A first-round playoff game in Glen Ellyn.
Nazareth (6-4) showed a diverse offense full of weapons to take down the high-octane Raiders. The Roadrunners move ahead to play the winner of the Rockford Boylan and Hillcrest game on Saturday afternoon next weekend in the second round.
The Roadrunners celebrated their road playoff victory by having a postgame meeting in the south end zone, which was filled with Nazareth players, coaches, alums, family members and students.
It was a fitting place considering the Roadrunners scored a season-high 48 points, especially since opening the season with a 2-point effort.
Nazareth senior Justin Taylor, a Wisconsin recruit, helped open up the floodgates by scoring on a 41-yard run to give his team a 13-6 lead. He added a 30-yard scoring run in the third quarter to raise the lead to 41-6.
"I just saw an opening and went for it," Taylor said of his first TD. "I knew if I got the opportunity, it was going to come. This victory shows a lot. We played a hard schedule in the first six games, which was one of the hardest schedules in the state. It prepared us mentally and physically. We faced adversity and were experienced in those situations. We have one-of-a-kind weapons, and spread the ball."
The Raiders (7-3) fell victim to allowing way too many big plays on defense, in particular in the running game to spoil a chance to build on a memorable regular season. Senior running back Jalen Brown, who has 10 offers, electrified the crowd with a 66-yard TD run just 52 seconds into the game.
But the Roadrunners reeled off 48 straight points before the Raiders answered with a pair of late touchdowns after the game was out of reach, highlighted by a 71-yard TD grab by Notre Dame recruit Cam Williams.
Brown admitted he thought his run was a positive sign for the hosts.
"It felt good, and a momentum changer," Brown said of his long TD run. "I thought it was going to be a different game, but things happen. I'm looking forward to seeing what these guys do next year. They're going to have some great talent returning and coming back."
Nazareth sophomore quarterback Logan Malachuk showed off his running prowess in the victory, scoring on runs of 12 and 56 yards to spark the offense.
"It felt really good, to score the ball and get the ball rolling," Malachuk said. "I've never had two touchdowns running in a game this year. It felt great. I'm a quarterback, and not many people think I can run. But I can run from time to time. The offensive line all blocked well. We're getting hot, from the offensive line and the running backs and defense. We're a tough team."
The Roadrunners continued their late-season turnaround, extending their winning streak to four in a row. They've scored at least 37 points in each of their victories.
"This is a really resilient group, and told them those tough game from week one through six were playing for prep for games like tonight," Nazareth coach Tim Racki said. "It was fun to watch. Logan made some great decisions tonight, and showed he's a great runner. We've been punched in the mouth all year, so we weren't fazed when they had that nice run right away. We knew we had 47 minutes to get it back."