Loyola came up a bit short in their quest to return to the Class 8A state finals. The Ramblers staged a late fourth quarter rally, only to drop a 27-24 decision to Glenbard North in the semifinals Saturday In Wilmette.
“I am really proud of our boys,” Loyola coach John Holocek said. “We made some mistakes early and fell behind. But the boys never quit up until the end.”
Loyola fell behind 14-0 late in the first half until a 25-yard field goal by the Ramblers’ Mike Kurzydlowski with five seconds left in the half cut the margin to 14-3.
After a key defensive stop to begin the third quarter, Loyola quarterback Peter Pujals got the Ramblers back on track offensively. Loyola drove 60 yards in three plays with Pujals connecting with Richie Wehman III on a 12-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-10 with 9:49 left in the third quarter.
But Glenbard North running back Justin Jackson began to grind the Ramblers down. The junior, who carried 29 times for 166 yards in the second half to finish with 45 carries for 228 yards, had touchdown runs of 12 and 60 yards as the Panthers (12-1) led 27-10.
With just under 5 minutes to play, Loyola and Pujals began to mount a furious rally. Pujals drove the Ramblers 74 yards in 11 plays, finishing with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Luke Ford to make it 27-17 with 3:09 to play.
After a failed onside kick, Loyola came up with another defensive stop. Austin Lyons then blocked a Glenbard North punt and after a penalty, Loyola had the ball at its own 42 with 1:34 to play.
Pujals (25-of-42, 269 yards), then drove Loyola down the field in just 45 seconds, connecting again with Ford from 8 yards out to make it 27-24 with 49 seconds to play.
Loyola had an opportunity at the ensuing onside kick, but the ball squirted into the hands of a Glenbard North player to end the Ramblers’ hopes.
Glenbard North 27, Loyola 241 2 3 4 T Glenbard North 7 7 13 0 27 Loyola 0 3 7 14 20
GBN: Jackson, 3-yard run (Ortiz kick)
GBN: Jackson, 19-yard pass from Murphy (Ortiz kick)
Loy: Kurzydlowski, 25-yard field goal
Loy: Wehman III, 12-yard pass from Pujals (Kurzydlowski kick)
GBN: Jackson, 12-yard run (Ortiz kick)
GBN: Jackson, 60-yard run (kick failed)
Loy: Ford, 7-yard touchdown pass from Pujals (Kurzydlowski kick)
Loy: Ford, 8-yard pass from Pujals (Kurzydlowski kick)