LA GRANGE PARK – Nazareth Academy fell to Sycamore on Saturday in the second round of playoffs. Sycamore defeated the Roadrunners 33 to 28, scoring with 4:06 in the fourth quarter, High School Cube News reports. According to High School Cube News,
"Sycamore senior Ben Niemann will never forget the heartache he felt last season when Montini ended the Spartans’ season 24-22 on a last-minute touchdown in the second round of the playoffs.
He wasn’t about to experience the same pain Saturday.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Iowa-bound wide receiver caught six passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns to help Sycamore hold off Nazareth 33-28 in a Class 5A second-round playoff game in LaGrange Park.
“We didn’t want it to end like last year,” Niemann said. “This is a different team and we just played really well. The game against Montini last year was just as exciting, but we didn’t come out on top, so being able to get the win this time just makes it that much more special. It’s awesome.”
Second-seeded Sycamore (11-0) will face No. 6 Lincoln-Way West in the quarterfinals.
Sycamore took what seemed like a comfortable 33-21 lead with 5 minutes, 19 seconds left when Niemann caught a screen pass from senior quarterback Devin Mottet and raced 58 yards for a touchdown. The TD came just two plays after a botched fake punt by the Roadrunners.
No. 10 seededNazareth (8-3) quickly answered, however. Kevin Jackson caught a 35-yard TD pass from sophomore Carson Bartels to pull the Roadrunners within 33-28 with 4:06 left.
Nazareth’s defense came up big to give the team another chance, but the Roadrunners weren’t able to capitalize when they took over possession at their own 42 with 2:11 left. A fourth-down pass was ruled incomplete when Julian Love couldn’t hold on to the ball.
“I’m not the least bit disappointed in my kids,” Nazareth coach Tim Racki said. “They gave max effort, full speed and never quit. That’s how this team is. I didn’t do my best coaching in the second half, so it’s on me.”"
[Read more from High School Cube News here.]