Senior Armoni Dixon took a couple of seconds to think about the last time he scored a touchdown.
At first, he said it was in eighth grade, but Dixon quickly corrected himself.
“No, it was seventh,” he said.
On the team’s first series Saturday, Dixon lined up as a tight end and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jack Fallon to give Loyola a 7-0 lead on its way to a 33-3 win over St. Rita on the road in the Catholic Blue.
“It was different,” he said, laughing.
Although the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Dixon’s primary position is outside linebacker, Loyola head coach John Holecek said the Ramblers are doing whatever they can to get him on the field as much as possible.
“He’s an elite player, a big, strong athlete,” Holecek said. “We want to use him in any way we can.”
Dixon, who has six Division I offers, also contributed on defense with a sack and on special teams with a blocked punt out of the end zone for a safety.
“There was a defender in front of me, but I dodged him and got my hands low,” he said. “I saw a good matchup.”
The Ramblers executed in all three phases during the first half to take a 26-0 lead into intermission.
Offensively, Fallon went 13-for-16 for 125 yards one TD and no turnovers. The Ramblers rushed for 79 yards, with senior running back Michael Gavric and Fallon both scoring TDs. Defensively, the Ramblers held the Mustangs to 10 yards and one first down.
In addition to Dixon’s blocked punt, the special teams was highlighted by senior cornerback Jack Burke’s fumble recovery on a crafty kickoff by senior Eddie Auer and sophomore Nate Van Zelst’s 27-yard field goal, three extra points and a punt that pinned St. Rita at its own 8-yard line.
“We came out focused, and we were ready,” Holecek said. “We had a good week of practice, and I think we are gelling at the right time.”
Loyola did what was necessary in the second half to earn its fifth win of the season, the total needed to become eligible for the state playoffs. Junior running back Trevor Cabanban punctuated the victory with a 69-yard TD run with 2 minutes, 52 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.
Fallon finished 17-for-23 for 187 yards one TD. He ran 11 times for 41 yards and one TD. Senior receiver Artie Collins caught six passes for 85 yards. Cabanban had 12 carries for 101 yards and one TD. Gavric rushed for 22 yards and 11 attempts and had three receptions for 35 yards.
Senior defensive linemen Eddie Eastman and Tim Thompson both had sacks.
The Ramblers (5-3, 1-2 Catholic Blue) close out the regular season Saturday at home against Providence Catholic. Another win guarantees them a spot in the postseason and improves their seeding.
“A couple of breaks here or there, it’s a different kind of season for us,” Holecek said. “But we are what we are. We will keep getting better.”
Photo credit: Geoff Scott