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La Grange Park, IL - Saturday, September 8, 2012: Nazareth's running-back Rudy Romagnano (2) rushes the ball vs Marist. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Nazareth coach Tim Racki cited the silver lining in last Saturday’s 24-21 East Suburban Catholic Conference loss to Marist on a late drive and field goal.
“When I talked with Dan [Sharp, the Joliet Catholic coach], I told him if losing a game like that is ever a good thing, it’s that we don’t have to worry about kids crying about what happened on Saturday,” Racki said. “They had about 12 hours to think about it, and it was time to get ready for Joliet Catholic and a man [wingback Ty Isaac] who will be wearing a USC helmet next season.”
The No. 24 Roadrunners (2-1, 0-1) will visit the No. 18 Hilltoppers (2-1, 1-0) in a key ESCC matchup and Season Pass Spotlight Game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium. Nazareth defeated Joliet Catholic 24-21 last season.
“We played a great game last week,” Racki said of the loss to Marist. “They are loaded this year.”
Isaac returned unexpectedly last week — entering in the second quarter — from a right shoulder injury suffered against Providence in the season opener, and rushed for 100 yards on 11 carries to help Joliet Catholic to a 33-20 victory over St. Viator.
“I felt like it progressed pretty well to the point if the team needed me I could come in,” he said afterward. “It’s much better than it was.”
Sharp said Isaac will start against Nazareth.
“Last year I told Dan that Ty Isaac looked like he should be in college ball,” Racki said. “This year he looks like he should be going into the NFL draft. But it all starts up front. Their line traditionally is very strong, but we hope we can have a scheme or two where we build a wall and fill those running lanes.
“It’s unfair to ask any team to stop Isaac. We just hope we can have all three phases come together for a full 48 minutes.”
When Nazareth has the ball, running backs Rudy Romagnano and Josh Moore, quarterback Jake Bartels and wide receiver Zach Manuel all will be concerns for Joliet Catholic’s defense.
“The running back, Rudy [Romagnano], is like a lot of the great backs we’ve had,” Sharp said. “They will use him in many different formations.
“They’re also very good defensively. They’re extremely quick on both sides of the ball. Their team speed will be the best we’ve seen so far, comparable to Robeson.”