By Dan McGrath
Nazareth Academy brought an uncharacteristic 2-4 record into a Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic crossover encounter with Leo on Thursday, Oct. 6 in La Grange.
More surprising, the normally dynamic Roadrunners were averaging a mere 16 points per game.
They exceeded that number on their first possession of the second quarter and kept at it, hammering out a 42-6 victory that dropped the Lions to 2-5 and obliterated any playoff hopes that might have lingered.
The driving rain that fell shortly before kickoff decelerated into an intermittent drizzle as the evening wore on, but the Lions handled the football like a slippery bar of soap, throwing two interceptions and losing three fumbles before halftime.
Their best possession of the first half brought them to the Nazareth 10-yard line after Kevin Jackson traveled 38 nifty yards with a screen pass. But a holding penalty and a lost fumble on the next two plays negated the effort and summed up the type of evening it was for the visitors, who played without injured starters Tim Durr and Merrick Sample.
They wouldn’t score until backup quarterback Matthew Harvey found Coby Triplett for a 20-yard TD pass in the final period. By then it was 42-0 and a running clock had hastened the proceedings.
Nazareth may lack the weapons of years past, but has a promising one in the developmental stage. Sophomore quarterback Logan Malachuk displayed impressive command of the soggy field while completing 11 of 21 passes for 154 yards and scoring a touchdown on a 2-yard run.
The Roadrunners didn’t have gaudy offensive numbers, but didn’t need them as Leo turnovers had them working with a short field much of the evening. Anthony Angulo and Brendan Flanagan ran for two touchdowns apiece, and linebacker Brady Gorman brought an interception back 13 yards for a score.
Leo is back in action on Friday, Oct. 14, traveling to Aurora to face Marmion (2-4 going into Friday’s game at Carmel-Mundelein) in its Catholic League/ESCC finale. The season ends with a Senior Day nonconference matchup against Rich Township at St. Rita’s Cronin Field on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.
Headed for retirement, Mike Holmes will coach his final game for the Lions and will be honored at a postgame reception at Leo.