Loyola rambles to win
Running game too much for Brother Rice
By Steve Metsch
Thanks to a formidable running game, stingy defense and a key penalty, Loyola proved it belongs in the elite of Chicago area football with a big win at Brother Rice.
After a first quarter that saw each offense stuck in neutral, Loyola’s ran away for a decisive 28-7 victory April 1.
Senior Vaughn Pemberton and junior Marco Maldonado each scored two touchdowns for undefeated Loyola (3-0). Brother Rice (1-2) lost a second straight game.
Loyola Head Coach John Holocek said his defense “stepped up.”
“The offense showed what we do well, and that is give the ball to Vaughn and get away,” Holocek said.
“Maldonado has got great acceleration and Vaughn is a workhorse,” Holocek said “Kind of a power and speed combo there.”
Senior wideout Dwayne Moorehead scored Brother Rice’s touchdown on a 6-yard pass from junior quarterback Jack Lausch with 5:09 remaining in the game to cut the lead to 21-7.
Vaughn Pemberton was stopped on this play, but had touchdown runs of 41 and 43 yards to help Loyola beat Brother Rice, 28-7. Photo by Steve Metsch.
Until late in the third quarter, the game felt like a prize fight with teams trading punches. Pemberton’s 41-yard rumble to the end-zone with 1:34 left in the third quarter gave Loyola a 14-0 lead.
Brother Rice Head Coach Brian Badke was angry after the play, insisting to refs he had called a time-out. The refs apparently had not heard him.
“It is what it is,” Badke said. “We didn’t make plays. They did.”
“When you play teams like that, you’ve got to execute,” Badke said. “They’re a great football team. I thought defensively we played very well. Offensively, we have to find an identity.”
Brother Rice seemed to gain momentum in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Junior Rolando Sepulveda intercepted a pass by quarterback JT Thomas, and returned it deep into Loyola territory.
“That would have been a huge mood change for us,” Sepulveda said.
However, he was flagged for pass interference, nullifying the pick. Three plays later, Maldonado’s 17-yard TD run made it 21-0.
“I thought it was clean. It was all ball,” Sepulveda said of the play. “As soon as I got tackled, I turned around and saw people complaining. That’s when I knew (a flag was thrown).”
Badke didn’t like the call.
“But what are you going to do?” Badke said. “It’s part of the game. You’ve got to move on. I’m proud of our kids. In life, you’re going to deal with some adversity and how you’re going to react to this. Bounce back. Get back on our feet. Get ready to go.”
Brother Rice knew stopping Loyola’s running game was the key, Sepulveda said.
“Their offensive line, they’re pretty big, they’re pretty fast,” Sepulveda said. “We had to stop the run and we did that in the first half. But the second half, we couldn’t.”
Maldonado began the scoring with 1:33 left in the second quarter. On third-and three at Loyola’s 42, he caught a short pass from Thomas and raced past several defenders.
Pemberton’s 43-yard touchdown run with 3:59 left in the game closed the scoring.
Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch was busy running on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to beat Loyola. The Ramblers won, 28-7. Photo by Steve Metsch.
“We had plenty of opportunities throughout the whole game, especially in the first half, to score early, get some momentum going,” Lausch said. “There were a lot more plays we could’ve made to put us in a better spot.”
Lausch was the victim of two drive-killing sacks by senior lineman Brandon Svets. One lost 13 yards. The other ended the first half.
“In that situation, you can’t take a sack, can’t go backwards,” Lausch said. “It’s something I’ll learn from, and do better next time.”
The 6-foot4, 240-pound Svets is committed to Harvard. He said he’s been working on rushing the QB: “It’s nice to have it pay off and do something good for my team.”
In the game’s waning moments, Lausch ran 58 yards to Loyola’s 12. but his pass to Moorehead was intercepted by Martin Auer.
“Tough game,” Lausch said. “I love being out there, especially against Catholic League teams like this. It’s a war every week.”