Pesek looks to ignite St. Xavier offense
BY STEVE MILLAR FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA September 6, 2013 5:03PM
Nick Pesek, St. Xavier running back | Supplied Photo
Nick Pesek had a breakout season for St. Xavier last year, becoming a star running back on an offense that’s built to produce star quarterbacks and receivers.
With the Cougars having to replace 2012 NAIA National Player of the Year Jimmy Coy at quarterback and many standout wideouts, Pesek will be counted on even more this year.
That’s just fine with the senior, an Oak Lawn native and Oak Lawn Community High School product who ran for 1,125 yards and eight touchdowns on 180 carries last season while adding 447 receiving yards and a pair of scores.
“As a running back on a passing offense, you have to take what you can get,” Pesek said. “I think everyone is expecting I’ll get a few more carries this year than the past couple. It just makes our offense even better if we can pass the ball and run the ball.”
Pesek is one of eight players from Oak Lawn or Chicago Ridge on the Cougars.
The others are sophomore defensive back Kevin Salmon (Oak Lawn, Brother Rice), junior defensive back Joe DeMarco (Chicago Ridge, Richards), freshman linebacker John Glover (Oak Lawn, Oak Lawn Community), freshman offensive lineman Ronald Luce (Oak Lawn, Oak Lawn Community), junior defensive lineman Greg Heyward (Oak Lawn, Oak Lawn Community), freshman offensive lineman Kevin Lonergan (Oak Lawn, Oak Lawn Community) and junior defensive lineman Kevin Berrigan (Oak Lawn, St. Rita).
St. Xavier, the 2011 NAIA national champion, lost in the national semifinals last year and is ranked No. 4 to begin this season.
St. Xavier coach Mike Feminis knows how valuable Pesek is.
“He’s probably the best-conditioned athlete on our team,” Feminis said. “He’s really strong, everyone knows how fast he is. We’re certainly going to rely on him more so than ever. Not only can he can score anytime he touches the ball out of the backfield, he’s a very good receiver, too.”
Heyward, meanwhile, will try to make an impact on the other side of the ball as one of the anchors of the defensive line.
“I expect to perform better and contribute more to the defense making plays,” he said. “Our defense is intense and aggressive and we expect to dominate.”
The Cougars will meet defending national champion and conference rival Marian University (Ind.) in their season opener Sept. 7.
“I can’t wait,” Pesek said. “We can’t wait to get out there and prove to everyone once again that we’re ready to play.”