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By Brad Spencer
Fenwick High School graduate and River Forest native Joe Romano will soon be bursting from the tunnel of Sun Life Stadium in Miami to cheers from thousands of college football fans when Notre Dame takes on Alabama in the BCS Championship tonight (7 p.m.).
Romano plays cornerback for the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Fighting Irish, although he's yet to set foot on the playing field during a game. The former Fenwick quarterback, who graduated from the private Catholic high school in 2010, is currently a junior walk-on. His father, uncle and grandfather both attended Notre Dame, and Romano has several other family members that have either graduated from or are currently attending the college.
But don't expect to see Joe Romano on the field tonight. While he was a dominant player in high school when the Fenwick football program returned to the bruising Blue Division of the Chicago Catholic League during his senior year, his 5-foot-9, 175-pound frame isn't exactly Division I, blue chip college caliber. (He's one of the smallest players on the team.)
No matter. Along with being a part of a successful college football program and getting to take in a national title game as a player on the sidelines, Romano (No. 35) is the team's self-described best ping-pong player.
He's majoring in Business Science and plans on going to med school after he graduates.