For the first time since 1966, the Pacelli football team is starting a season without the staple of it's program. Longtime head coach Bob Raczek passed away in late July, leaving the Cardinals in the hands of his son, Steve.
Adjusting to life without "Coach Bob" on the sidelines isn't going to be easy.
"The toughest part about is that he's always been that go-to guy, for years," says Steve Raczek. "We're getting through it. We know he's there with us."
"We took it hard at first and then practice came up right away so we got focused on that and we know that's what Coach Bob would want," recalls senior quarterback Isaac Elliot. "Just getting focused and working hard everyday."
The Cardinals will be dedicating their season to the late Coach Raczek. Before Raczek's passing Steve Raczek spoke with his father about continuing his legacy.
"He didn't want it to be all about him. That's not what we're trying to do. He's built a legacy at Pacelli over the last 50 years that he wants us to continue, and that's what we're focusing on. We're doing not necessarily for him, but because of him."
Pacelli lost more than 15 players to graduation, so it'll be key for guys to step up and fill roles.
"We lost some very good players. We're bringing back some really good players too," says Raczek. "It's one of those groups that it's hard to single one player out because they're meshing so well and playing so well together."
Although there's still some moving parts on the team, the key to winning games hasn't changed from years past.
"Just working as a team, working together," says senior tight end Jake Feltz. "We've gotta have everyone on the same page, working as hard as they can and everyone knowing the plays. Doing stuff the right way."
"You can expect to see a lot of pride on the field," raves Elliot. "A hard hitting defense getting after it and just having some fun out there."
Steve Raczek knows that his father will be pleased if the Cardinals play the way he had taught them.
"I'll be happy if we stay healthy, and we're competitive, and we play hard, give it all we got every down. That's what my dad built, that's what we want to continue doing, and the wins will come."
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