Chicago (Gary Little Stadium) - The Brother Rice Crusaders were expecting a tuneup on the eve of "Selection Saturday" for the IHSA Football Playoffs. Instead, the Loyola Ramblers tuned the Crusaders on Rice's senior night and pulled a surprise 23-14 win at Gary Little Stadium.
The Crusaders opened the scoring as QB John Ingersoll, filling in for regular starter Tim Evans, directed the Crusaders on a 75-yard march and capped the drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Austin McDonough and a 7-0 lead. Loyola could not move the ball on their initial posession and after an exchange of turnovers, the Crusaders look poised to score again. But as the offense stalled, Ingersoll dropped to pass. Instead of finding sure-handed Joe Gibson, he found Tim Harvey of the Ramblers who raced 75-yards untouched to knot the game at 7 after the first period.
Neither team could muster any offense in the middle periods, but the Ramblers began to find their rhythm in the form of a spread offense, often deploying three wide receivers. Their persistence paid off in the third quarter as quarterback Peter Bodovinac used a short drop and found Joseph Suhey for a finger-tipped catch and a 30-yard gain. Running back Connor Detjen finished the drive on fourth-and-goal by busting over the pile of bodies from two yards out to give Loyola a 14-7 lead with 5:44 remaining in the third. On the Crusaders' next posession, they faced fourth-and-three from the Rambler 47 and Paul Gannon dropped in punt formation. The Loyola defense got suckered as Gannon fired a strike to Austin McDonough to keep the drive alive. Unfortunately, the Crusaders stalled and eventually punted.
Later on, a punt return set the Crusaders up at their own 48 yard line and Ingersoll went back to work. Mixing the running and the passing game, the Crusaders marched fluidly down the field and Paul Gannon made a leaping grab in the left corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown and a new game at 14-14.
Then the Ramblers sent a sucker punch of their own as Bodovinac abolished the running game and lofted a pass down the left sideline for Suhey who caught the pass in stride for a 56-yard gain. Thomas Harvey nailed a 26-yard field goal and the Ramblers regained the lead at 17-14. After forcing a Rice punt, Connor Detjen delivered the knockout blow with a 67-yard touchdown gallop for the final score. Detjen finished the night with 114 yards on 16 carries. For Rice, Ingersoll was efficient in a losing effort with 10 completions in 20 attempts for 133 yards and two scores.
While Loyola will more than likely make the playoffs, there is still a slight chance they could get bumped as they were 73rd on the list of over 150 schools still in the hunt for the last 97 playoff spots.