The Ramblers made a more than three-hour road trip worth it Friday with their 27-7 win over Rockford (Michigan) in the season opener for both teams.
Several players contributed to the scoring, and the defense shut down the Rams.
“I really liked how our returning players took charge and the new players embraced their roles,” Loyola senior safety and captain Jake Gonzalez said. “It was also good to see how well the second-string players did when they got their chance. Everybody contributed.”
Senior quarterback and captain Jack Fallon threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Jared Lombardi on the game’s first series to stake Loyola to a 7-0 lead.
Sophomore Nate Van Zelst kicked a field goal, and senior quarterback Matthew Schlitz connected with junior receiver Matt Mangan for a 22-yard TD pass with time winding down in the second quarter to put the Ramblers up 17-0.
Van Zelst’s second field goal increased the advantage to 20-0 before senior cornerback Jack Burke returned an interception for a TD to make it 27-0 with 4 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
In Rockford’s first seven possessions, Loyola’s defense forced four punts and a turnover. The other two drives ended with a missed field goal and the end of the first half.
The Rams got on the board with a 3-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
The Ramblers play at New Trier on Friday. Loyola beat the Trevians 35-32 in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs last season in Wilmette.
“I think we took out our anger from the way last year ended, and we are happy with how we started,” Gonzalez said. “But we have to keep it up and stay motivated.”