Home Sports Ramblers Successfully Navigate Challenging Terrain to Secure Victory on the South Side

Ramblers Successfully Navigate Challenging Terrain to Secure Victory on the South Side

Ramblers Successfully Navigate Challenging Terrain to Secure Victory on the South Side

St. Rita’s public address announcer Jack Snaidauf called Pat Cronin Field “the snake pit on Western Ave.”, and the Loyola Academy Ramblers were fortunate to flee with their unscathed record intact within the 74th meeting of the Chicago Catholic League Blue rivals on Friday, Sept. 29.

The sport was much closer than the 21-5 final rating suggests.

It wasn’t until quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald ran 7 yards for his second touchdown of the night with 4:23 remaining that the man travelers within the stands who followed the Ramblers to the far South Side of Chicago could feel secure.

The possession time reflects how much pressure was placed on Loyola — 27 minutes 13 seconds for the Mustangs and 20 minutes 47 seconds for the Ramblers. Penalties for defensive pass interference and an fumble put the Ramblers in compromising positions, but they managed to reduce the damage, due to some huge plays on defense.

“We had a next-play mentality,” coach Beau Desherow said. “When you make a mistake or a foul play you’ve got to be able to go the following play. A very powerful play is the following play; it’s something we all the time preach.”

Loyola quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald leaps into the goal line for his second rushing touchdown of the night.

The primary of the defensive efforts that altered the course of the sport got here when lineman Jimmy McGovern broke through the defense to dam a Mustangs’ punt after the hosts advanced the Loyola 49-yard line on the primary series of the sport. The football rolled to the St. Rita 25 before it was recovered by the Mustangs.

“I told (assistant coach Pete Devine) if he put me on the market I’d block one,” said McGovern, who has been a significant component all season for the Ramblers who’ve given up only 48 points of their six outings. “I went across, stuck my arm up and took a bit of it.”

Five plays later the Ramblers scored a touchdown on Fitzgerald’s 3-yard run, and Michael Baker kicked the primary of his three extra points. Because it turned out, those seven points were all of the defending IHSA Class 8A champions needed to enhance their record to 6-0.

The Mustangs (1-5), whose only prior loss was inflicted by undefeated defending Class 7A state champion Mount Carmel, immediately counterattacked and drove to the Loyola 15 before their drive faltered. Faced with a fourth-and-long situation, they sent out the field-goal unit to aim a 36-yard field goal however the kick hit the crossbar.

The Ramblers’ respite was short-lived. Ranging from their 20, they were pushed back to their 6-yard line, primarily due to penalties. When Baker got here in to punt the snap bounced to him and he was tackled ultimately zone for a two-point safety with 2:34 to play in the primary quarter.

Running back Finn Miller fights for yardage for the Ramblers.

Late within the second quarter, counting on their ground game, the Ramblers drove 88 yards in 12 plays for the touchdown that enabled them to take a 14-2 lead. Drew MacPherson’s running spearheaded the drive and he got the TD on a 1-yard run.

Early within the third quarter St. Rita went back on the attack and drove to the Loyola 2-yard line. On fourth down quarterback Jett Hilding was sacked for a 12-yard loss by free safety William Schirmang, who was subbing for injured Kenny Langston.

“It was an enormous stop when we would have liked it,” Desherow said. “That’s the opposite thing we speak about in our program — you’ve got to be prepared since you never know when your number goes to be called.”

“I saw him coming around and I did my job,” Schirmang said of tackling the quarterback. “I used to be glad I used to be in a position to make a play. It was fun being on the market.”

Loyola took over and advanced to the St. Rita 5 before a fumble gave the ball back to the Mustangs who drove downfield to the Ramblers’ 17 before the defense stiffened.

Loyola defensive lineman Kia Calcutt pulls down Mustangs quarterback Jett Hilding.

The Mustangs settled for a 39-yard field goal that cut their deficit to 14-5 with 52 seconds elapsed within the fourth quarter, giving them ample time to win the sport if they might a pair of massive plays within the time that remained.

As a substitute on the Mustangs’ next possession it was Charlie Prior within the Loyola secondary who made the massive play, intercepting a pass at his own 30 after St. Rita went to its backup quarterback as an injury substitute.

The Ramblers gained only 5 yards on their next three plays, dictating a punt by Baker that spawned one other big play: a fumble recovery by Emanuel Ofosu. Taking up on the Mustangs’ 34, the Ramblers gained 27 yards on three runs by MacPherson that arrange Fitzgerald’s 7-yard TD trip that finally cemented the victory.

Fitzgerald admitted the Ramblers were fortunate to avert an upset.

“They were definitely the most effective team we played and probably the most physical but I believe it was also a variety of self-inflicted wounds,” he said. “I had bad reads and bad throws and a fumble that was our first turnover of the yr.”

Nevertheless, Fitzgerald was a crucial contributor with 41 rushing yards in 10 carries highlighted by the 2 touchdowns and 7 completions in 18 passing attempts for 88 yards.

While Hilding was an efficient passer (10 for 16 for 138 yards) the hosts were no match for the Ramblers on the bottom. MacPherson ran 20 times for 111 yards, while the Mustangs’ five ballcarriers collected only 65 net yards in 33 carries.

The Ramblers did a powerful job in thwarting 220-pound running back D.J. Stewart, holding him to a meager 9 net yards in 12 rushing attempts and 7 of those yards got here on one play.

By winning the Ramblers took a 36-35-3 edge of their games with St. Rita, a rivalry that dates back to Oct. 6, 1910, when Loyola was a 14-5 winner.

The Ramblers shall be back on the road on Friday, Oct. 6, traveling to Elmhurst to satisfy Class 3A defending state champion Immaculate Conception. Hitherto unbeaten IC suffered its first defeat on Sept. 29 when St. Francis of Wheaton eked out a 35-34 triumph.


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