Undefeated Loyola Academy used its Saturday Oct. 14 game against Benet Academy as one other lopsided warmup for the Ramblers’ last — and largest — game of the regular season back at Hoerster Field against undefeated Mount Carmel.
After winning by 47 points the previous weekend in Elmhurst at Immaculate Conception, the Ramblers scored their eighth victory by trouncing Benet Academy 41-7 in Wilmette.
Leading the onslaught was senior Finn Miller with touchdown runs of 33, 43 and 50 yards. He made some extent of praising the offensive linemen “for making huge holes for me.”
The well-built running back played football at Loyola his freshman yr but then transferred to Culver Military Academy in Indiana before returning to Loyola for his junior yr during which he played lacrosse but not football.
“I missed it,” Miller said. “I regretted not playing. I assumed I’d be doing myself as a disservice if I didn’t exit. Last yr I used to be on the Mount Carmel (game, which was the Ramblers’ only loss) and it still burns just a little bit. I assumed: ‘Why am I sitting within the stands?’”
Coach Beau Desherow recalled: “We were in search of help this summer after we learned that Will (Nimesheim) and Luke (Foster) were out for the season. We didn’t have lots of depth at running back. Finn emailed me throughout the summer and said: ‘Coach, I’d prefer to play this fall.’ I told him to come back to my office and after I saw him I said: ‘We’d like to have you ever!’
“Finn is an incredible kid and has been really impressive. The more experience he gets the more confident he gets and the more confidence he gets the more impressive he’s.”
Along with his TD trips, Miller carried yet another time for 3 yards in his best performance of the season, giving him a season total of 399 yards in 47 carries.
Starter Drew MacPherson also carried 4 times against Benet and gained 10 yards, increasing his season output to 449 yards in 82 rushes. The junior also caught two passes for 17 yards, certainly one of which was an 8-yard touchdown reception.
Miller’s 33-yard jaunt began the Ramblers’ rampage with 8:02 to play in the primary quarter, and it was followed by MacPherson’s TD catch and a 60-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzgerald to wide receiver Nicholas Arogundade. Michael Baker kicked all three extra points, and the Ramblers ended the primary quarter holding a 21-0 lead.
Arogundade dropped his first pass but he wound up with 4 catches for 85 yards.
“It didn’t undergo my mind ‘I can’t go to him anymore’ after the dropped football,” Fitzgerald said. “It was raining and I’ve said all season: ‘It’s about trust.’ I trusted him and kept finding him. Last yr (as a junior) he didn’t play much but he has come back and been certainly one of our biggest leaders. He’s such an incredible guy.”
Arogundade said he was wearing gloves and felt uncomfortable when he flubbed the catch: “After that I took the gloves off and was effective.”
Early within the second quarter the Red Wings scored their only touchdown on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Kuback to wide receiver Rocky Rosanova. Establishing the TD was a trick play: Rosanova’s 16-yard pass to 6-foot-5 tight end Ahren Becker.
Loyola answered later within the quarter with Miller’s second touchdown run followed by Baker’s field goals of 40 and 48 yards. Within the third quarter, Miller’s last TD trip and Baker’s fifth extra point accomplished the scoring.
Desherow rested his best players throughout the second half. Fitzgerald, who was 6-for-8 passing for 101 yards, was replaced by Lucas Holubar (8-for-14 for 63 yards), and Francis Corrigan, Casey Doell and Devion Johnson assumed the running back responsibilities.
Johnson also did double-duty as a saxophone player within the band before the sport and when there was a break within the motion.
The Loyola defense, which has two shutouts and has allowed greater than seven points in just certainly one of the eight games, continued to face out. The Red Wings amassed only 162 net yards versus the Ramblers’ 350.
Now comes the showdown between the defending IHSA Class 8A state champion and defending 7A state champ Mount Carmel (also 8-0), the one team to defeat the Ramblers prior to now two seasons and the team that again stands between them and the Catholic League Blue Division title.
The Saturday, Oct. 21 showdown will begin at 1 p.m., a half-hour sooner than the starting time for the opposite Hoerster Field home games this season.
“Our goals all yr have been: No, 1 get playoff eligible; No. 2 win the Catholic League; and No. 3 advance so far as we will within the state playoffs and check out to win one other championship,” Desherow said.
As certainly one of the Ramblers’ defensive stalwarts, Jimmy Govern, sees it: “Mount Carmel is the true deal—I prefer to call it ‘an immovable object against an irresistible force.’”