Loyola survives New Trier’s furious fourth-quarter comeback

Loyola's John Fallon (15) playing quarterback in relief for the Ramblers, stops and throws back across the field for a touch down against New Trier, October 28, 2017. Allen Cunningham / For the Sun-Times.

Loyola was dominant for three quarters on Saturday in Wilmette. Visiting New Trier was unable to run the ball and was allowing the Ramblers’ backup quarterback to throw touchdown passes.

No. 5 Loyola led by 25 points and appeared ready to coast through to the second round of the Class 8A state playoffs.

Then the Trevians came alive, rallying for 22 unanswered points. New Trier was an onside kick away from really putting a scare into the Ramblers, but Rory Boos recovered the kick with a minute left and put an end to the Trevians’ comeback.

Loyola won 35-32 and will host Hinsdale Central in the second round next weekend.

“Obviously you want to advance but no one is happy with this,” Loyola coach John Holecek said. “No one is excited about the way that we played. Frankly it feels like a loss.”

Loyola starting quarterback Quinn Boyle was 6 for 12 for 88 yards and one touchdown. He had 14 carries for 82 yards but left the game in the third quarter.

“It was precautionary,” Holecek said. “At that point you’d think it was in hand.”

Junior John Fallon did well in his place. He was 3 for 4 for 72 yards with two touchdowns, both to junior Noah Jones.

“We just had some mental errors, didn’t execute like we should have,” Jones said. “We have to come back next week and play smarter. We learned that we have a target on our back and everyone is coming at us with their best effort. We have to play all the way through the fourth quarter.”

New Trier quarterback Reed Bianucci spearheaded the comeback. He threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Nicholas with 5:57 to play and a 43-yard touchdown pass to Brian Kaiser with 1:10 left.

“The kid can throw, they have some athletes that can make plays in space,” Holecek said. “They made us pay.

“We’re played on our heels, played safe zone defenses. It is a different feel when someone is coming back. You can credit that a bit, but we didn’t make enough plays on defense.”

New Trier (6-4) managed just 56 rushing yards on 18 carries. Sitzer caught five passes for 45 yards. Senior Matt Mosher caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Carson Ochsenhirt, who split time at quarterback with Bianucci.

“The line has to get more pressure, we have to man up more,” Loyola defensive lineman Marty Geary said. “That’s a team effort, not one guy. We have to fix it for next week.”

There was one major bright spot for the Ramblers (9-1). Sophomore running back Trevor Cabanban was a major threat in his first varsity game. He rushed for a 39-yard touchdown on his third carry.

“That was awesome,” Geary said. “It’s cool to see younger kids step up like that, he has a bright future.”

Cabanban had 10 carries for 85 yards overall.

“It was exciting, felt really good,” Cabanan said. “I was very surprised when I scored though. That made me realize that I’m just playing a football game, if I do my thing I’ll be fine.”

Most of the area’s best teams rolled easily through the first round. It might not be the worst thing for the Ramblers that had a scare.

“Completely a wake-up call,” Geary said. “We’re going to come after it next week.”

Holecek said his message for next week would be simple: “Your nerves are now done. We have no excuses now.”

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  • Public Powerhouses

    Loyola is just lucky that my Trevians did not pass more in the first half.

    • Wut?

      Keep telling yourself that. Loyola clearly got bored in 2nd half and lost focus. But keep telling us about games from the 1980s.

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