The Loyola Academy Ramblers football team is heading to the Class 8A semifinals after beating Palatine High School 19-7 Saturday in Wilmette.
The No. 2-ranked Ramblers showed their defensive prowess early and often.
The Loyola defense intercepted Palatine three times in the first half, including once on a deflected a pass during Palatine’s first play from scrimmage.
Palatine’s high-powered offense, which had been averaging over 44 points per game, was short circuited by a stout Loyola defense, which came up with four total interceptions and held Palatine to a season-low 180 yards of total offense.
A first-half field goal and a 48-yard touchdown drive allowed Loyola to take a 10-0 lead into halftime.
Palatine came out refocused in the second half. After a defensive stop, Palatine returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown to pull the Pirates to within three at 10-7.
But Loyola came back on its next possession and drove 80 yards in 11 plays to make it 16-7 with 7:16 left in the third quarter.
Loyola had a chance to increase its lead late in the third quarter when the Ramblers lined up for a 29-yard field goal, but a blocked kick and kept Palatine’s hopes alive.
Palatine could not take advantage of the miss, though, and Loyola went on to kick another field goal to close out the scoring and put an end to Palatine’s season.
Loyola’s Cody Sullivan had three interceptions and six tackles during the game, according to the Chicago Tribune.
With the win, the Ramblers move to 11-1. Loyola will host No. 7-ranked Glenbard North this Saturday at 1:00 p.m.