Going into the summer, Charlie Largay said he didn’t expect to be a starter his junior year.

Three games into the season, it’s hard to imagine Largay as a backup.

In Friday’s 35-28 win over Mount Carmel at Gately Stadium, he recovered a fumble from his strong safety position on the Caravan’s second series of the game. The turnover resulted in Loyola taking a 14-7 lead with 11 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the second quarter, and the Ramblers never trailed the rest of the way.

“That definitely was the biggest play I have made all year,” said Largay, who started at cornerback prior to the Catholic Blue opener. “The first two games I didn’t do anything special. I just did my job. I think I needed to make a big play.”

Later in the first half, Largay tackled Mount Carmel junior Alek Thomas, one of the top playmakers in the Catholic Blue, for a 5-yard loss on first down. On second-and-15, Loyola senior cornerback Ian Swenson intercepted a pass. The Ramblers scored on their ensuing possession to take a 28-7 lead.

“I saw the defensive line got penetration and forced him to make a move,” Largay said. “My job was to keep contain, and he was forced right to me. The line and linebackers should get the credit for that.”

Loyola head coach John Holecek applauded Largay’s performance Friday.

“Charlie plays much bigger than he is,” Holecek said of the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder. “He’s a tiny kid, but he has a giant heart. I’m happy for him.”

Largay admitted he’s shorter and weighs less than what’s listed on the roster.

“Everyone’s always been bigger than me, but I know I can play at the same level as those players,” Largay said. “I just play harder and try to be mentally stronger.”

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola