First down: Jake Marwede, Loyola’s highest profile player, said Sunday he should be ready to play at home against Maine South in Week 2. The Ramblers will need him, too. The Hawks handed Class 6A defending state champion Montini one of their worst losses in more than a decade with their 44-13 win Friday in Park Ridge. Marwede, a 6-foot-5, 238-pound senior receiver and Duke recruit, sat out the season opener with a sore left hip flexor. “It was nothing too bad, but we wanted to make sure I was 100 percent for this game and the rest of the season,” Marwede said. “It’s super exciting to get back onto the field.” After last season, it won’t be a surprise to anybody to see Marwede line up at receiver, tight end or quarterback.

Second down: Marwede, who verbally committed to Duke on March 31, said he’s happy to have his college decision behind him. “I didn’t want to rush into anything, but I wanted to get it out of the way before the season,” he said. “Duke has everything I was looking for in a college. It has both high-level academics and high-level football. The on-campus feel was second to none.” Marwede will follow in his father’s footsteps as a Division I football player. His dad, Andy Marwede, played tight end for Yale in the early 1980s. “He’s always been a great help,” Jake said. “He didn’t force me into anything, but he kept my mind on track about what was important in making this decision.”

Third down: Senior Pat Kramer (pictured above) won’t get the same attention as Jake Marwede this season, but he will be an important piece in the Ramblers’ success. The place-kicker made his first varsity start Friday and acquitted himself well. He made all four extra points and averaged 55.7 yards on his six kickoffs. “I was looking forward to this game all summer,” said Kramer, who had one kickoff last season as the backup to 2016 graduate Patrick Tata. “I thought I did pretty well. I probably need to work on kickoffs, put them a little deeper, and get better at squib kicking. I felt good on the PATs. They felt smooth.” A former soccer player, Kramer started kicking in the fifth grade at St. Mary of the Woods. Before his senior season, he attended multiple kicking camps to hone his skills. He said he now is comfortable kicking field goals from 40 yards. “I did a lot of training over the summer, and I became a lot more consistent,” he said.

Fourth down: The Catholic Blue went 3-2 in the first weekend of the season. Brother Rice and Mount Carmel were big winners Sunday at Soldier Field, while Providence and St. Rita, which also played at Soldier Field, suffered season-opening losses. The Crusaders’ 31-7 win over 2015 Class 8A runner-up Marist was the league’s most impressive Week 1 victory. The Tribune had the RedHawks ranked 13th, and the Sun-Times had them No. 3. Brother Rice senior receiver Ricky Smalling, an Illinois recruit and one of the state’s top talents, finished with five catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns, according to the Tribune’s game report. The conference schedule starts in Week 3.

Photo credit: Geoff Scott