It’s not that he hasn’t ever done so. But Love knows the consequences if he sets a bad tone for his Nazareth Academy squad as it navigates through the Illinois Class 5A playoffs, which included a 43-3 win Saturday over Solorio Academy in the second round.
“We can’t,” Love said. “We’re kinda not allowed. Coach (Tim) Racki doesn’t let us look ahead. We go week-to-week. Once it gets over with, then we can look on to next week.”
Nazareth barreled to its win over Solorio on the strength of standout performance from junior running back Ivory Kelly-Martin, who ran for 237 yards and four touchdowns on 18 carries.
Love chipped in with his first kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
“I got the ball at about the 15, maybe the 10,” Love said. “I was looking to start right and cut back left, something kinda basic. I saw this one kid get completely out of his lane, so I just went straight up the middle and juked the kicker. Straight up the middle and scored.”
Cruising past Solorio sends Nazareth (9-2) to the quarterfinals against Joliet Catholic Academy, a rematch from the regular season. Joliet Catholic held on for a 38-35 win in early October after building a 31-0 lead.
“We shouldn’t be afraid of anything,” Love said. “We know what we can do and we know how we can punish this team. We’ve just got to play a full 48 minutes. We can’t come out flat. If we do we have to recover as quick as possible. We barely lost and we were down 31-0. We have to cut down on penalties because we really killed ourselves.”
Love said some lessons were learned in that game, especially after a furious rally came up just short.
“I think it shows that we’re tougher than a lot of people deem us to be,” Love said. “We have a lot of young guys but a lot of young, scrappy guys. I think that’s key in the game of football.”
Robert Beal ‘17
Norcross (7-3) lost its third straight game to close the regular season, this time going down 13-9 to Collins Hill. Beal moves into the playoff next week against South Forsyth.
Book had a bye. The Irish commit and Oak Ridge (8-2) will host Monterey Trail (5-5) next week in the playoffs.
Bishop Moore (9-1) lost its first game of the season, 42-6 to undefeated Lake Brantley in a non-conference matchup. Bishop Moore begins the Florida Class 5A playoffs next week in a home game against Palm Bay (8-2).
Claypool didn't suit up for Abbotsford (B.C.) in a 35-0 win over Rick Hansen with a hip flexor injury. Abbotsford (4-1) begins the playoffs this week and Claypool might be back in the lineup.
Elliott threw for a touchdown and ran for another in a 61-0 win over James River. L.C. Bird (10-0) now hosts Matoaca on Friday in the first round of the playoffs.
Dillan Gibbons '17
Northside Christian (8-1) enjoyed a bye. Gibbons and Co. begin the playoffs next week with a trip to Cambridge Christian (10-0).
Jones helped the Aquinas Institute (10-0) to a 17-14 win over Rush-Henrietta to take the sectional title. Playing both ways, Jones finished with two catches and four tackles, including one on a botched punt.
Elder (8-3) scored 19 unanswered points in the final eight minutes of a 50-42 win over Fairfield. Kraemer recorded 15 pancake blocks in the win. Elder plays Hilliard Darby on Saturday in the second round of the playoffs.
Nazareth Academy (9-2) staged a 43-3 blowout of Solorio Academy in the second round of the Illinois playoffs. Love had a kickoff return touchdown in the game.
Josh Lugg '17
North Allegheny (8-1) rushed for 405 yards in a 56-17 win over Norwin. The Tigers will play Central Catholic, which includes four-star Irish cornerback target Damar Hamlin, on Friday in the second round of the playoffs.
Morgan recorded just one tackle in a 70-7 win for St. John Bosco (10-0) over Servite. The Braves will play Bishop Amat in the first round of the playoffs.
Ardrey Kell (5-5) lost its final regular season game 55-25 to South Meck (9-2). The two teams will meet again next week in the playoffs.
Shannon got back into the mix at linebacker for Loyola Academy (10-0), which advanced in the Illinois 8A playoffs with a 49-0 win over Lincolnshire Stevenson. He made six tackles and had an interception. Loyola gets Homewood-Flossmoor (10-1) this week in the quarterfinals.
First Coast (2-7) defeated winless Jackson 64-0 in its final game of the season.
Whitehaven (10-1) cruised to a 40-6 win over Antioch in the first round of the playoffs. The Tigers play Mount Juliet on Friday in the second round.
Brock Wright '17
Cy-Fair (6-4) closed the regular season with a 21-13 win at Jersey Village, which propels Wright’s squad into the postseason next week against Eisenhower.
Season Complete: Liam Eichenberg, Khalid Kareem, Tony Jones, Cole Kmet ’17, Ade Ogundeji, Spencer Perry