LAGRANGE PARK — Nazareth senior teammates Julian Love and Kevin Jackson have fond memories of playing against each other in youth football.
Jackson starred for the Westchester Raiders, while Love was a standout with the Leyden Bears, and both were versatile contributors.
“I remember it basically being one-on-one,” Love said. “Kevin played multiple positions like me. All I can remember is Kevin was everywhere. I don’t think he ever beat my team, though.”
Neither of the Westchester residents chose to brag about individual matchups, however.
“I was a defensive end one year and he was a running back, so it was a lot of fun playing against him,” Jackson said. “I’m just glad we’re playing together now.”
The versatility continues to this day for the friends.
Jackson and Love are both starting safeties and wide receivers for the Roadrunners, who improved to 2-0 after beating Riverside-Brookfield 49-6 Saturday in LaGrange Park.
“We are a big part of the defense and we work well together,” Love said. “We help the younger guys out. It’s up to me and Kevin to push the team to get better each day. I help out in any way I can.”
Love caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Bartels and also had an 11-yard carry in the win, while Jackson forced a fumble.
“We’re in shape and we don’t have a problem with going both ways,” Jackson said. “I like it a lot. Everyone has their small part and it leads up to a huge amount of potential as a team.”
Love and Jackson are three-year varsity performers.
“They do a great job keeping guys in their spots and communicating,” Nazareth coach Tim Racki said. “They are veterans, so they make our jobs as coaches easier because they’re coaches on the field. They know how to make checks and adjustments.”
Racki also believes the two exemplify the type of character his team possesses.
“We have no me-guys and no big egos,” Racki said. “They are very humble and get along well. They’re not thinking about college. They want to focus on their senior season and have fun, which is rare. We’re blessed to have high-character kids.”
Early on at Nazareth, Love and Jackson were both three-sport athletes, also playing basketball and running track.
Jackson stopped playing basketball, but three sports weren’t enough for Love, who plans to play baseball and run track in the spring. Love also participates in the school theatre program.
“He’s fun to be around,” Jackson said. “We get along great. He’s good at acting and is a funny man. Everyone loves him.”
- Nazareth running backs Nolan Dean and Joe Muscolino combined for 221 yards and five TDs in the opening half.
- Senior Matt Chapp returned a kickoff 94 yards for a TD for R-B’s lone score.