By Marty Farmer
The IHSA Class 7A quarterfinal matchup pitting Nazareth against host Simeon at historic Gately Stadium Saturday, Nov. 10 offers plenty of intrigue for fans.
Both teams are loaded with athletes on both sides of the ball and undeniably fun to watch on the gridiron.
With the exception of the Roadrunners' 34-13 loss against Marist in Week 7, both teams have rolled through their opponents as Simeon is 11-0 and Nazareth 10-0.
Both teams feature an outstanding quarterback in the Wolverines' Alante Brown and the Roadrunners' J.J. McCarthy. Brown, a dynamic dual threat behind center, is a Michigan State recruit. McCarthy, a prized sophomore, is already attracting recruiting interest from several Big 10 schools and other major Division I programs like Notre Dame, South Carolina and Oklahoma State.
Lastly, both teams have great wide receivers in the Wolverines' Rashaan Palmer and Roadrunners' Diamond Evans. Nazareth senior Michael Love, who plays four or five positions for his team, could be the difference.
Averaging 39 points per game, Nazareth has outscored its opponents 429-145 with most of the damage done in the highly regarded East Suburban Catholic Conference. Simeon's numbers are slightly more impressive with a 430-89 scoring edge in 11 games.
By any analysis, this matchup looks like must-see high school football. So, who ya got? Nazareth or Simeon?
While he makes no prediction, Nazareth head coach Tim Racki offers a key factor regarding the outcome.
"There will be lots of speed on both sides," Racki said. "I believe it will come down to both teams limiting the big-play potential each side is capable of."
One thing's for sure, the winner will be determined about three hours after Saturday's 1 p.m. kickoff.