Loyola hosts New Trier on Saturday in the first round of the Class 8A state playoffs. The last time the two local rivals played was in the first round of the 2006 Class 8A state playoffs at New Trier. The Ramblers had a lead in the fourth quarter, but the Trevians pulled out a 13-8 win.

Maroon & Gold reached out to Ramblers who played in that game and asked them for their memories.

ADAM GELSOMINO (running back)

I remember the crowd. There was definitely several thousand people there, not only in the stands but all around the field. You couldn’t even see the fence. It was a cold and kind of foggy night. You could see your breath. Playing your biggest rival in the playoffs had everybody hyped up. It was for bragging rights. It was an intense, back-and-forth game. I remember getting tackled by Richard Spellman. When he got over me, he told me he was in the game for the sole purpose of stopping me. Losing that game stunk.

In college at Kansas, I roomed with Francis Enright, who played cornerback at New Trier. Every chance he got, he brought that game up. He still does. It says a lot about how much those games mean. I’m in his wedding next year.

I follow Loyola as much as I can. My advice for these kids is to keep your head up and always push forward. Sometimes, the ball will not bounce your way, but if you put all of your heart into it, it will work out, win or lose. Have fun.

DEANDRE FRY (defensive end)

Every Rambler should be part of a game like this one. The excitement, the adrenaline, the student section going crazy. It’s hard to put into words. Even when I played football in college, I never experienced anything like that New Trier game. Everybody was so juiced up and ready to go. It was by far the most memorable game I ever played in, and one that always comes up when we talk about high school, regardless of the outcome.

Looking back now, I would tell the players to make sure they enjoy the moment. It’s going to go by quickly. You hear alums talk all the time about that sort of thing, but it’s true. This is one of the best times of your life. It’s a game you are prepared to play, so trust yourself and the coaches. But the biggest thing is to enjoy it.

DAN KEARNS (defensive back)

I remember the kickoff. My adrenaline was pumping the hardest it had ever been in my life, even to this day. There was an insane level of intensity throughout the week leading up to the game, and it culminated under the lights when we took the field. The overflow crowd and the electricity in the air made the bad blood between the two schools as apparent as ever.

On the very first play from scrimmage, the receiver I was manned up against caught a long pass, but free safety Josh Warren, one of my best friends to this day, had my back by forcing and recovering a fumble. Later in the game, I remember my other close friend [defensive lineman] Deandre Fry sacking New Trier’s quarterback, jarring the ball loose and recovering the fumble. The Loyola crowd went absolutely berserk on these two plays and when Josh scored on a 2-point conversion late in the fourth to give us an 8-7 lead.

The outcome wasn’t what we wanted, and our loss to New Trier haunts me to this day, but the amount I learned from this adversity has been valuable as I moved through college and into the real world. I’m one of many current and former Ramblers that are excited to cheer on Loyola at Hoerster Field on Saturday. I hope we blow them out.

JOSH WARREN (defensive back)

Loyola lost this battle, but we can live in peace going forward with the this knowledge: We didn’t go to New Trier.