After starting the season under their latest coach, Beau Desherow, with three impressive victories on the road, the Loyola Academy Ramblers played their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 16, and the defending IHSA Class 8A champions gained more momentum by defeating Brother Rice, 41-24.
Brother Rice gave the Ramblers some guff early in the sport. In taking a 10-7 lead within the second quarter, the Crusaders scored more points than each of the Ramblers’ earlier opponents had scored in your entire game.
“It took us some time to determine what we desired to do,” Desherow said. “We made some adjustments. Once we recognized what we would have liked to do, we began to click and responded well. They reply to coaching. They seem to be a tight-knit group and so they look after one another — to me that is probably a very powerful thing.
“Any team within the Catholic League Blue Division is a threat. They’ll be well-coached and so they have good athletes. You’ve to bring your A game.”
Within the second quarter, the Ramblers’ “A game” was very much in evidence. By halftime, they commanded a 24-10 lead and by early within the fourth quarter, the South Siders’ deficit had ballooned to 41-10.
By then, Desherow was playing his second and third-stringers against Brother Rice’s first team, and the house team gave up two touchdowns.
With that in mind, it’s secure to say that the sport was more lopsided than the scoreboard suggested.
Junior quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald continued to guide the Loyola attack. He accomplished 14 of 20 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns and made a 19-yard highlight film run down the left sideline for the TD that gave the Ramblers’ everlasting possession of the lead with 2 minutes 52 seconds to play in the primary half.
Organising the touchdown was one other outstanding individual effort: Donovan Robinson’s 47-yard punt return that put the ball on the 19.
The Hoerster Field crowd saw many other big plays by the Ramblers.
Will Carlson leaped high within the air to win a duel with a defender in the correct corner of the tip zone and catch a 14-yard pass from Fitzgerald for the sport’s first touchdown with 7:29 left in the primary quarter.
“We had been doing all of it week in practice and it was in our game plan,” Carlson said. “My coaches put me in and gave me the chance to make an enormous play and I made essentially the most of it.”
“I just threw it up for Will and trusted that he would make the play,” Fitzgerald said. “I do know the blokes on my right and left will make plays for me and I have the desire to make plays for them.”
The Crusaders counterattacked to go ahead 10-7, however the Ramblers answered. Three catches by Drew MacPherson for a complete of 29 yards and Carlson’s 28-yard reception highlighted a drive that advanced the football from their 25 to the visitors’ 14-yard line. When the defense stiffened and Loyola was in a fourth-and-8 situation, Michael Baker kicked a 32-yard field goal that tied the rating.
Fitzgerald’s superlative scoring run subsequently gave Loyola the lead and, with 45 seconds to play within the half, MacPherson upped the result in 14 points with a 3-yard run after making a 34-yard reception to place the ball on the 4.
Within the third quarter, Loyola broke open the sport when Fitzgerald threw touchdown passes of fifty yards to wide receiver Nicholas Arogundade and seven yards to MacPherson. Baker added the ending touches together with his fourth and fifth extra-point kicks and made the rating 41-10 by kicking a 19-yard field goal early within the fourth quarter.
Last season, when Arogundade was a junior, Loyola’s former coach, John Holecek, had several superb receivers playing ahead of him and his 14-game output for the state champions was limited to seven catches for 59 yards.
But this season, he has grow to be a go-to-guy. He caught 3 passes for a game-high 107 yards against Brother Rice, giving him 16 receptions for 238 yards within the 4 triumphs.
“It’s going great,” Arogundade said. “Today Drew and Will each made great plays for a touchdown, and I used to be completely satisfied I could make a play for an additional touchdown. In my view, I’m an entire latest receiver this yr.”
While Arogundade and Carlson give the Ramblers a pair of productive wide receivers, MacPherson is effective coming out of the backfield to catch passes. He caught six for 71 yards Saturday, increasing his season totals to 14 catches and 246 yards.
The senior backup quarterbacks continued to be effective of their relief appearances against Brother Rice. Lucas Holubar was 2-for-2 for 16 yards and Freedom Ali was 2-for-2 for 10.
Coach Casey Quedenfeld of the Crusaders (2-2) got a very good performance from quarterback Ryan Hartz, who accomplished 13 of 26 passes for 105 yards. Their touchdowns got here on Randall Nauden’s runs of 1 yard in the primary quarter when it seemed it was anybody’s game and 60 yards within the fourth quarter when the sport was long gone. Their final touchdown got here on Cooper McAlilly’s 35-yard run with 69 seconds to play. Ronan Culkin kicked the three extra points and the 31-yard field goal that gave them their 10-7 lead within the second quarter.
The Ramblers will return to Hoerster Field on Saturday, Sept. 23, for his or her 1:30 p.m. homecoming game against St. Patrick’s.
“There’s all the time room for improvement, but I just like the direction we’re headed,” Carlson said, summing up the established order because the Ramblers approach the second half of the regular season.