VAN NUYS -- Big plays came in bunches in the football game between undefeated Alemany and injury-plagued Loyola at L.A. Valley College on Friday night.
Alemany, the No. 7 team in the ESPNLA.com top 25 rankings, made the most of its opportunities, stretching the field with long passes and coming up with clutch defensive plays, in a 31-14 Serra League win over Loyola.
Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns. One of his touchdowns was a 65-yard pass to Kyron Defour. Adams also hit Corey Sims with a 50-yard pass that set up Alemany’s first touchdown of the game.
“We got some big plays with the passing game,” said Alemany coach Dean Herrington. “They were pretty aggressive on defense. We made some big plays on them.”
Loyola running back Jared Baker scored on an 87-yard run in the third quarter. The Loyola defense forced three turnovers, two on interceptions but could not turn them into scoring opportunities.
“We didn’t capitalize on the turnovers,” said Loyola coach Mike Christensen. “We didn’t do anything with them after we got them.”
Alemany took an 8-0 lead in the second quarter on a 10-yard touchdown reception by Shane Drozdowski. Adams' 50-yard bomb to Sims at the end of the first quarter gave Alemany a first-and-10 on the Loyola 27-yard line. Alemany scored three plays later on a diving touchdown catch by Drozdowski.
Adams came up with another clutch pass to Saladin McCullough on Alemany’s next drive. McCullough took a screen pass 42 yards and put Alemany in position to score its second touchdown of the game. Adams capped a 12-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown keeper to give his team a 15-0 lead.
Alemany posted 22 points in the second quarter. The third touchdown of the quarter came on a 9-yard pass to McCullough with 31 seconds to play in the half.
Alemany went into halftime up 22-0. Even though Adams threw two touchdown passes in the first half, he turned the ball over with an interception on the first drive of the game.
Niok Nassa picked off Adams, but the Loyola offense sputtered and had to punt the ball away.
Loyola finally got on the scoreboard two plays into the second half. Baker broke free for an 87-yard touchdown run to cut Alemany’s lead, 22-7. Baker rushed for 128 yards on 17 carries.
Alemany took a 29-7 lead in the third quarter on Defour’s 65-yard touchdown catch. Defour was wide open on the Alemany sideline and turned a 10-yard out into a 65-yard touchdown.
“He’s had some big plays for touchdowns,” Herrington said. “He’s a heck of an athlete and a key part of our offense.”
Loyola receiver Chaz Anderson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to trim Alemany’s lead to 29-14, but that was a close as Loyola would get.
Loyola had its chances late in the game to make it interesting. Cypress Moreno intercepted Adams in the third quarter, but Loyola’s offense couldn’t move the ball. Kodi Whitfield recovered a fumble for Loyola in the fourth quarter, but again the Cubs stalled on offense.
Alemany (8-0) scored the final two points of the game on a safety when Loyola quarterback Nick Cotton couldn’t handle a high snap and ran out of his own end zone.