Nazareth Academy celebrates football state championship win after starting season with losing record

John Garcia Image
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
4 Chicago area schools celebrate state football championship wins
Nazareth Academy of La Grange Park, Illinois won the 5A state championship football trophy after starting the season with a losing record.

LA GRANGE PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Four high schools are making Chicago Proud after each brought home state championship trophies for football over the weekend.

Among them was Nazareth Academy of La Grange Park, which made history after starting the season with a losing record.

The players from Nazareth Academy entered the school gym carrying the hard earned 5A state championship football trophy. It is a time to celebrate - and to reflect on what may be the most improbable championship in state history.

They are the first team ever in Illinois to start the season with a record of just two wins and four losses and go on to win the championship.

"We just knew we had to stick together and keep pushing, getting better, build brick by brick," team captain Justin Taylor said.

The rally is a way for the private school of about 760 students to celebrate - and for teachers and coaches to educate.

"When times get hard, we don't give up, we dig in," school president Deborah Tracy said.

"Use the lessons in leadership to succeed in life where it really counts," Coach Tim Racki said. "Because at the end of the day, this is a football game."

Nazareth may have had the most improbable win, but three other Chicago area schools also won state football championships.

Immaculate Conception of Elmhurst celebrated winning in class 3A Saturday with a parade through town. Mount Carmel has a rally set for Tuesday for winning the class 7A championship. And in the largest class, 8A, Loyola Academy held the trophy high after winning Saturday. It is a huge moment for every winning team.

"It's a great thing for our entire school community," Nazareth Principal Therese Hawkins said.

This is the 4th state championship in football for Nazareth, and in what has become a tradition for the school, they celebrate by giving students an extra day off. This year, President's Day weekend will become a four-day weekend.