CHICAGO -- Undefeated Loyola rolled up into the South Side with seven wins under their belt for a Catholic League contest against Brother Rice, Friday.
Loyola's Ramblers dominated the score and the pace of the game, but faced resistance from a gutsy Brother Rice squad in a 20-13 win against the Crusaders.
After a three-possession stalemate in the first six minutes, Loyola's Willy Pavilos scored the first touchdown. Pavilos, who led all yardage with 124 yards, scored on a 1-yard pitch from QB Malcolm Weaver after two Weaver completions and a 34 yard quarterback sneak got the Ramblers to the 2-yard line.
At 7-0 Loyola at the start of the second Quarter, Dan Lyons picked off Loyola's first pass to put Brother Rice on Loyola's 49. But a few miscues and a penalty led Brother Rice to punt on fourth down, which put Loyola in a crunch position back on their own 1-yard line.
Loyola soldiered on further, moving the ball for 15 plays. Weaver, who completed 12 for 28 and handed off the ball 24 times, got Loyola to the Crusaders' 4. Thereafter, kicker Will Cushwa kicked a field goal to make it 10-0 to Loyola with two minutes to play.
Brother Rice's hard-nosed efforts to equalize didn't come up short though. Three completions to Andrew Walker and a 14-yard run from Martez Walker put Rice in range for Brian Kane's left-footed strike that made it 10-3 at the half.
Then after a 43-yard Pavilos kickoff return and another Cushwa field goal, placing Loyola's lead to 13-3, the Crusaders shot back. On the next kickoff, Martez Walker returned 87 yards for a Brother Rice touchdown. With Kane's extra point, Brother Rice inched closer at 13-10.
Martez Walker, who stands as the Crusaders' all-time leader with over 2,700 career yards, finished the night with 102 yards.
But tides turned by the end of the third. Backed into a corner at 3rd and 10 with 30 seconds to go, backup Rambler QB Peter Pujals pitched left in hastily against the crusader rush, to running back Marquese Martin-Hayes. Martin-Hayes ran that ball 79 yards, slipping by four defenders, to score a Loyola TD that tempered the Crusaders' hopes 20-10.
Brother Rice fought back hard again but made costly mistakes. An early fourth quarter interception was run back by Loyola for a TD. Lucky for Brother Rice a Loyola penalty called it back. Still, Brother Rice's quarterback, Pat Parilli was sacked four times in the last quarter by coach John Holecek's Ramblers.
The Crusaders showed heart though, hurrying through the last two minutes to set up a last field goal and a respectable 20-13 scoreline.
"These kids don't quit," Coach Steve Nye said of his Brother Rice crew.
"We made some mistakes. We played well defensively, and these guys always live to fight another play", Nye said.
Loyola (8-0) will face Catholic League archrival St Rita next week.
"This is the best conference there is," said Pavilos on facing St Rita. "Pending Rita's win, we've got a conference championship next up. We can't ask for anything more."
Player of the game: Willy Pavilos, who had the opening TD and 124 yards on 20 carries.
Stat of the night: Loyola pressuring defense sacked both Crusader QBs a total of 7 times.
It was over when: Loyola sacked the Crusaders' QB Parilli for a 10-yard loss, with 90 seconds to play.
Quote of the night: Willy Pavilos, "Our defense...That's just John Holecek defense."