LAUSCH – Brother Rice quarterback Jack Lausch scores the second of his six touchdowns in a 49-46 loss to Loyola in a battle of Class 7A powers Friday night. Photo by Jeff Vorva
High School Football: Loyola tops Rice in Blue shootout
By Jeff Vorva
What happens when you put four monster football programs in one conference?
Monster matchups. Monster games. And monster seasons.
The third season of the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Blue got rolling on Friday night and there were two power-packed games on tap to open the season.
Monster offenses showed up at Tom Mitchell Field in Mount Greenwood as Loyola, ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 7A by the Associated Press, survived a 46-43 victory over No. 3 Brother Rice. Two miles south, Class 7A No. 2-ranked Mount Carmel defeated Class 8A No. 2-ranked Marist, 28-16.
The Ramblers-Crusaders matchup saw two huge individual performances as Rice quarterback Jack Lausch accounted for all six touchdowns – three passing and three running. He totaled 436 of Brother Rice’s 509 yards from scrimmage. He hit Owen Lyons, Henry Boyer and Marty O’Keeffe with touchdown passes.
The loss left the Crusaders 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the conference heading into Friday’s non-conference showdown at De La Salle.
“Offensively it was an awesome game,” Lausch said. “I’m really proud of the way we fought the whole time. We played tough. I’m really happy with the guys’ heart and the way we competed.
“It hurts but it will help us in the long run.”
Brother Rice had leads of 7-0 and 14-7. Loyola (4-0, 1-0) roared back and Loyola sophomore kicker Michael Baker’s 33-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Ramblers a 24-21 halftime lead.
Halftime was extended by a lightning delay and the second half was played with occasional rainfall. Loyola scored on the opening drive to increase the lead to 31-21 to and was able to keep the Crusaders at bay.
Brother Rice closed the gap to 49-46 with 3:36 left but Loyola kept possession the rest of the way.
Loyola had 587 yards, with Marco Maldonado running for 338 of them and scoring four touchdowns.
But in the final drive, he suffered a potential season-ending injury. Ramblers coach John Holecek said his running back sustained a broken collarbone.
Brother Rice running back Aaron Vaughn added 64 yards, 34 of them after coming back in the game late in the second quarter after taking a hard hit and missing a few possessions. Receiver Da’Kobie Wordlaw hauled in six passes for 69 yards, all in the first 12 minutes of the game.
The power league opened for business with a bang on Sept. 20, 2019, with Brother Rice beating Marist and Mt. Carmel topping Loyola by identical 17-14 scores.
Mt. Carmel won the inaugural title with a 3-0 record, with the other three teams each finishing 1-2.
Even though the 2020 fall season was wiped out and an abbreviated spring season took its place earlier this year, the league still played all six of its games. Loyola went 3-0, while the other three went 1-2.
Including Friday’s action, eight out of 14 games were decided by eight points or less.
“It’s one of the best conferences in the state,” said Brother Rice running back/linebacker Khary Shaw.
A look at the scores in the Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference since its inception.
Sept. 20 – Brother Rice 17, Marist 14
Sept. 20 – Mt. Carmel 17, Loyola 14
Oct. 4 – Mt. Carmel 21, Marist 14
Oct. 5 – Loyola 35, Brother Rice 14
Oct. 25 – Mt. Carmel 28, Brother Rice 13
Oct. 26 – Marist 14, Loyola 6
March 26 – Marist 20, Brother Rice 16
March 27 – Loyola 35, Mt. Carmel 17
April 1 – Loyola 28, Brother Rice 7
April 3 – Mt. Carmel 24, Marist 21
April 23 – Loyola 43, Marist 14
April 23 – Brother Rice 20, Mt. Carmel 13
Sept. 17 – Loyola 46, Brother Rice 43
Sept. 17 – Mt. Carmel 28, Marist 16
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