FIRST DOWN: While junior Noah Jones continues to get healthy from a hamstring injury, junior Rory Boos has developed into Loyola’s big-play receiver. It’s a description receivers coach Pat Naughton said he didn’t think the 6-foot, 155-pound Boos would have so early into his varsity career.

“I knew he could be a starter, but his productivity has exceeded my expectations,” Naughton said of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help graduate.

Naughton said Boos, who plays on the outside, has been clocked at 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, and he showed his speed in Saturday’s 41-14 win by twice getting behind Fenwick’s secondary.

But that’s not Boos’ only strength.

“He has good hands and knows how to attack the football,” Naughton said. “He can catch it in a crowd.”

Against the Friars, Boos finished with three catches for 30 yards. Boos leads Loyola with 319 receiving yards and two touchdowns. His 17 receptions are tied for first with senior James Joyce.

“He’s a student of the game,” Naughton said. “In film, he’s always taking notes and asking really good questions.”

Naughton said having Joyce at the slot position has helped Boos. With Joyce’s precise routes and good hands, he draws a defense’s attention, allowing Boos to get free in space, according to Naughton.

“Joyce has been good for Boos,” Naughton said. “[Joyce] is everything I expected him to be this season.”

SECOND DOWN: Even with Jones sidelined, the Ramblers have plenty of players who can catch balls.

Seven players had at least one reception Saturday, led by junior Artie Collins, who finished with five catches for 61 yards and one TD. Senior Dillon Grant had five catches for 35 yards and also scored a TD, while senior Andrew Forsyth finished with four receptions for 34 yards.

A quarterback as a junior, Forsyth is best known for stepping in and helping the Ramblers to a 24-0 win against Huntley on the road in the Class 8A quarterfinals. In his first season as a varsity receiver, he has six catches for 67 yards.

Loyola has seven players with at least five receptions.

THIRD DOWN: Jones was supposed to be the playmaker for the Ramblers this season, but he’s been slowed by a hamstring injury. The 6-2, 195-pound Jones didn’t dress for the Fenwick game, and he has three catches for 14 yards this year.

“He’s working hard to get through it,” Naughton said. “It’s very tough, and he’s doing everything he can to get back. We aren’t putting a deadline on it. Even though he’s not playing, he’s been a good coach to our younger guys.”

FOURTH DOWN: In his first season as a starter, Dan Baker (pictured above) has been a plus player on special teams.

The junior handles all the kicking duties for the Ramblers and leads the team in scoring with 25 points. Baker scored 11 against Fenwick on five extra points and two field goals, including a career-long 41-yarder with 6.4 seconds left in the first half.

“He had a great day,” Loyola head coach John Holecek said. “He’s steady as a rock.”

On the year, Baker has made 16 extra points and is 3-for-4 on field goals.

Photo credit: Geoff Scott