Jack Lausch will always be a hero to the throngs of grade-school kids who lined the field at Brother Rice football games this season. The exciting, gifted athlete who lives in your community, whom you watch up close every week, is a special thing for young sports fans. It’s more tangible and accessible than any star on television.
Lausch, the Sun-Times Player of the Year, was once one of those kids. He’s a Beverly resident who attended St. Barnabas School.
“I remember going to games and watching [Brother Rice quarterback] Dino Borelli,” Lausch said. “He’s a coach here now. I remember all those guys and how good they were.”
Lausch’s numbers this season were eye-popping. He was 164-for-269 passing (61%) for 2,447 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Lausch also was a threat on the ground with 142 carries for 1,084 yards and 21 touchdowns. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
Lausch asked that his offensive line be mentioned by name.
“Zak Bowden, Carter McAlilly, Jackson Judeh, Jack O’Connell, Pat Galeher, Jack Mallon,” Lausch said. “Nothing is possible without those guys.”
As usual, the stats don’t tell the whole story. It was the thrills Lausch provided that made him special. The 70-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter of The Battle of Pulaski against Marist was electric, a true rarity for a quarterback in a high-level CCL/ESCC Blue game.
Lausch wasn’t on the short list of Player of the Year candidates in the preseason. His excellence took most of the area by surprise, but that wasn’t the case at Brother Rice.
“I had high expectations for Jack,” Brother Rice coach Brian Badke said. “When kids that are true leaders work hard, they are going to be successful. It did not surprise me one bit that he’s Player of the Year. It didn’t surprise me that he threw for 20 touchdowns and ran for 21.”
Lausch also compiled impressive numbers off the field in two key areas. He’s No. 2 in his class academically and was the student whom most kids requested to follow on Brother Rice’s shadow days with junior high kids. The school doesn’t keep track of that stat, but multiple sources say Lausch might be the most-requested ever.
“There was definitely someone every week,” Lausch said. “But that’s cool. It’s fun to help the younger kids see what Rice is all about and helping the next classes be strong. It was fun to give those kids a good day.”
Lausch’s dad, John, played football at -Joliet Catholic and Harvard. His mother, Mary, played volleyball at Mother McAuley and Wright State.
Lausch plans to head to Notre Dame as a preferred walk-on for football and baseball. Irish football coach Brian Kelly’s departure shocked Lausch.
“It’s still Notre Dame, though,” Lausch said. “The program will be fine. I’m excited for the future.”
Lausch is open to other college opportunities.
“If there is a school that comes and says, ‘We need a quarterback,’ and it is a high academic school with a great program, he’s going to consider that,” Badke said. “Obviously, Notre Dame is Notre Dame. But if someone says we have a football scholarship, he’s going to listen. It has to be the right fit, though.”
Lausch plays center field and pitches on the baseball team. He plans to join the basketball team as soon as an injury he suffered against Mount Carmel in the quarterfinals heals.
“I loved [Brother Rice] growing up and coming to games,” Laush said. “It was so exciting. I felt like this was the place where I could be myself and succeed the most. I’ve loved every minute I’ve spent here, and I’m excited for the rest of the year.”
Brother Rice finished the season 10-3. The Crusaders were favored to win Class 7A but were upset by eventual champion Wheaton North in the semifinals. Lausch was unable to run against the Falcons because of a thigh injury, severely limiting Brother Rice’s offense.
Lausch said he didn’t watch the state championship games because the loss was still a little too raw.
Unlike some high-level high school athletes, Lausch has a clear plan for when his playing days end. He wants to join the front office of a pro sports team and eventually become a general manager.
“Jack is a special young man,” Badke said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg for him. He’s going to go on and do great things after Brother Rice.”