Prep Football Insider: Talbott athlete of the week

Athlete of the Week

Nathan Talbott

Crystal Lake Central, Senior

The Tigers linebacker was integral in their best defensive performance of the season as Central defeated Grayslake North, 35-6, in a pivotal Fox Valley Conference Fox Division game Friday.

Talbott had 10 tackles and was credited with 4 1/2 sacks. Knights quarterback Merrick Gentile has been a two-way threat, but with Talbott and others all over him, Gentile had 21 carries for zero yards.

North’s offense averaged 41.2 points a game before Friday. Central (5-1 overall, 3-0 FVC Fox) can win the Fox Division by winning its last three games.

“[Talbott] played great sideline to sideline,” Tigers coach Matt Fralick said. “Our whole defense played well and had great discipline.”

Talbott is averaging 10 tackles a game for the Tigers.


Good news: Marengo has struggled through its season at 0-6, but the Indians received a pick-me-up recently when assistant coach Rob Kruse returned to the team.

Kruse was critically injured in a car accident on the morning of Aug. 21 and suffered multiple broken bones. He was trapped inside his vehicle and had to be extricated before he could be taken to the hospital.

Indians coach Matt Lynch brought Kruse on to his staff this season. The two previously had worked together at Dundee-Crown. Kruse just retired from teaching last year and has a painting business, Sportraits. He painted a mural of legendary late Marengo basketball coach Homer “Bill” Barry in Marengo’s Homer “Bill” Barry Gymnasium this summer.

“[Kruse] is on his way back,” Lynch said. “He doesn’t want a lot of attention.”

Lynch said Kruse was not yet back on a full-time basis, but he was getting stronger and gradually able to do more.

Tough week: Jacobs’ thrilling 26-20 victory Friday night capped what was a rough mental week for the program. Heidi Braglia, the mother of junior offensive lineman Anthony Braglia, died on Wednesday after a bout with breast cancer.

October is the month players from youth football to the NFL wear pink to help raise awareness for breast cancer. In the first game this season with players wearing pink, Jacobs quarterback Bret Mooney scrambled on a wild, final play, running 26 yards downfield before lateralling back across the field to running back Josh Walker. Walker then raced 30 yards for the winning touchdown, long after the last seconds had ticked off the clock.

“It was definitely an emotional week,” Mooney said. “We just got our [pink] stickers for our helmets the same day she died.”

Mooney said the players planned to attend Heidi Braglia’s wake on Sunday to support their teammate.

This Week’s Top Games

Cary-Grove (4-2, 4-0) vs. Jacobs (4-2, 3-0)

7:15 p.m. Friday, Jacobs Athletic Field

• The winner of this game takes a major step toward the FVC Valley Division title since these are the only two division teams without a loss. Both teams have won four in a row.

Dundee-Crown (5-1, 2-1) vs. Prairie Ridge (2-4, 1-3)

7:15 p.m. Friday, Prairie Ridge Athletic Stadium

• D-C can punch its ticket to the playoffs for the first time since 1994 with a victory.

Marian Central (5-1, 3-1) vs. Montini (6-0, 4-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday, in Lombard

• Montini has won four consecutive Class 5A state championships, but Marian has won back-to-back Suburban Christian Conference Blue Division titles. 

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