Fenwick ends Nazareth’s season, 28-17
Road Runners optimistic for 2022; Friars in semifinal
By Steve Metsch
Nazareth made it the Class 5A football quarterfinals with a solid defense and an impressive freshman quarterback.
In the end, however, that defense buckled and that quarterback looked like a freshman against a Fenwick team with 30 seniors on its roster.
Logan Malachuk was 11 for 21 for 221 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. None was costlier than one to open the fourth quarter.
Nazareth trailed 21-17 on Nov. 13 and had first-and-10 at Fenwick’s 39. The fans in La Grange Park were roaring.
Senior defensive end Suleiman Abuaqel then intercepted Malachuk’s screen pass over the middle. He ran 55 yards to give Fenwick a 28-17 lead with 11:46 to play in the fourth on Nov. 13.
The score held up. Fenwick (10-2) advanced to the state semifinals. Nazareth finishes 7-5.
“They’re probably going to win it all,” Malachuk said. “That defense. … We hit two bombs, and they were still right there.”
Malachuk threw touchdown passes of 44 and 51 yards to junior Justin Taylor. The first gave Nazareth a 7-0 lead, the second cut the deficit to 21-17,
Abuaqel, who notched his first pick-six, said he saw a running back from the corner of his eye, “so I just slid a little bit to the left, and the ball came right to me.”
Malachuk never saw Abuaqel: “That was on me. i thought I could fit it in there. That was just a bad play all together.”
Nazareth led 10-0 early after Zach Hayes kicked a 31-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
Fenwick cut the lead to 10-7 when quarterback Kaden Cobb (21 of 24 for 144) scored from six yards out with 10:11 left in the second quarter.
With 45.9 seconds left, Cobb found Max Reese with a 19-yard touchdown pass to give Fenwick a 14-10 halftime lead.
Razzle dazzle Fenwick a 21-10 lead. With 7:32 left in the third, Reese took a direct snap and flipped to Cobb, who found wide-open Patrick Durkin from 3 yards out.
Moments later, Malachuk showed why Nazareth fans and coach Tim Racki look forward to next season.
After he dropped and recovered the snap at Nazareth’s 49, Malachuk lofted the ball to Taylor around Fenwick’s 40. Taylor caught the ball and scored to cut the deficit to 21-17 with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
“We practice that every day,” Racki quipped. “He really grew up a lot this year. A freshman quarterback in the quarterfinals. He shouldn’t be hard on himself.”
“Today doesn’t define us,” Racki said. “This was a very successful season. After Week One, I was, ‘Are we in a rebuild?’ When you get to the quarterfinals, that ain’t no rebuild.”
Taylor (4 catches, 113 yards) vowed he and the team “will remember this feeling and it will be fuel for next year.”
According to stats from Nazareth, Fenwick outgained the Road Runners, 368 yards to 282, and made 23 first downs to Nazareth’s nine.
Fenwick had 214 yards rushing. Danny Kent gained113 on 23 carries, and Cobb added 60 on 13. Nazareth managed just 52 yards rushing.
- Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band are still rockin’ - August 10, 2023
- Weathering personal storms - July 20, 2023
- Countryside solution irks some - July 20, 2023