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Glenbard West's Nathan Marcus makes an incredible catch over Wheaton Warrenville South's Adam Rogers to put his team within yards of the end zone.
Nathan Marcus has always had his eyes on the big prize.
So when the Glenbard West senior had his playing time time cut back for a few games after suffering a foot injury in Week 3 against Lyons, he took it in stride.
“I was able to play a little but I was on the sideline for most of it, just trying to stay healthy for when we really needed me for the playoffs,” Marcus said. “I like to see my teammates do well, so I’m happy sharing the glory.”
The Hilltoppers, meanwhile, are glad to have a guy like Marcus to give them a dimension they haven’t had lately: a deep threat in the passing game. That could come in handy on Saturday when Glenbard West meets Lincoln-Way East in a battle of unbeatens for the Class 7A title at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
“Having a D-I receiver really helps,” Hilltoppers quarterback Henry Haeffner said of Marcus, a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder who is committed to Vanderbilt. “You can throw it up there and be confident he’ll get it.
“If I’m ever in doubt, I’ll just throw it at him.” Marcus usually catches those passes. He has 51 receptions for 884 yards and seven touchdowns, which he considers as much a tribute to Haeffner as to himself.
“He’s an incredible quarterback,” Marcus said. “We have a great line [to provide] protection, so he has all day to throw. And he’s just able to put it in the perfect spot for me to make a play on it.”
Marcus also is capable of making some plays for the Hilltoppers’ defense, which has four shutouts and held 11 opponents to 14 or fewer points. His size and quickness as a defensive lineman make for some significant matchup problems for opponents.
“It’s not just that he’s tall, he’s strong [too],” Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said.
And he understands the big picture, especially after the Hilltoppers held on for a 19-13 semifinal win over Lake Zurich last week.
“Definitely not the perfect game, but we have another week to fix things, make things better,” Marcus said. “We have another game to showcase it.”
And another game to showcase their SEC-bound receiver.