LOYOLA RAMBLERS (3-2) vs. BROTHER RICE CRUSADERS (4-1)
1:30 p.m, Saturday, October 5 at Hoerster Field
Head Coach: John Holecek, 14th season (146-30)
Captains: Luke Desherow, sr., Christo Kelly, sr., Matthew Mangan, sr., Jack Nimesheim, sr.
Conference: Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Blue
2018: 11-3, 2-2 Chicago Catholic Blue, Class 8A State Champions
BROTHER RICE CRUSADERS
Head Coach: Brian Badke, 8th season (51-31)
Conference: Chicago Catholic League/East Suburban Catholic Conference Blue
2018: 13-1, 3-1 Chicago Catholic Blue, Lost in Class 8A state final
LOYOLA RAMBLERS (3-2)
L St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) 27-10
W New Trier 34-3
W St. Rita 24-7
L Mount Carmel 17-14
W St. Ignatius 58-6
October 5 vs. BROTHER RICE, 1:30 p.m.
October 12 vs. Benet, 1:30 p.m.
October 18 at Marian Central, 7 p.m.
October 26 vs. Marist, 1 p.m.
BROTHER RICE (4-1)
W Hillcrest 26-20
W Perspectives 45-6
L Providence Catholic 34-22
W Marist 17-14
W Joliet Catholic 28-14
October 5 at LOYOLA, 1:30 p.m.
October 11 vs. St. Laurence, 7:30 p.m.
October 18 at Carmel, 7:30 p.m.
October 25 at Mount Carmel, 7:30 p.m.
Mount Carmel 1-0, 5-0
Brother Rice 1-0, 4-1
Loyola 0-1, 3-2
Marist 0-1, 3-2
Notre Dame 1-0, 5-0
Montini 1-0, 4-1
Providence 0-1, 4-1
St. Rita 0-1, 2-3
Benet 1-0, 5-0
Nazareth 1-0, 4-1
De La Salle 0-1, 3-2
St. Laurence 0-1, 3-2
St. Viator 1-0, 3-2
St. Patrick 1-0, 2-3
Marian Central 0-1, 3-2
Carmel 0-1, 1-4
Marian Catholic 1-0, 3-2
Leo 1-0, 2-3
DePaul Prep 0-1, 2-3
St. Joseph 0-1, 1-4
Marmion 1-0, 4-1
Joliet Catholic 1-0, 2-3
St. Ignatius 0-1, 2-3
Fenwick 0-1, 2-3
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Liam Conaghan Jr LB
A load at 6-3 and 225 pounds, Conaghan finished with 12 tackles, including one for loss, in the team’s 58-6 win over Saint Ignatius. He’s racked up four tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery in his first season as a starter.
Luke Desherow Sr DL
The 6-5, 225-pound captain continues to create chaos off the edge. On Saturday, he had one tackle for loss and recovered a fumble. A college prospect, Desherow has 25 tackles, nine quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble for the season.
Marco Maldonado So RB
In his first varsity season, Maldonado is an explosive runner. Against Saint Ignatius, he rushed five times for 102 yards and scored his first touchdown of his career. He’s averaging 8.0 yards a carry this season.
Jack Nimesheim Sr DB
A captain and safety, Nimesheim broke up two passes Saturday. For the season, he has 31 tackles, including one for a loss.
JT Thomas Jr QB
After serving as a substitute quarterback through the first four games, Thomas made his first start against Saint Ignatius. He finished 5-for-8 for 132 yards and threw two TDs and one interception.
BROTHER RICE CRUSADERS
Giacomo Iraci Sr WR/DB
A two-way impact player, the 6-1, 185-pounder has verbally committed to Western Michigan as a safety.
Jahlil Pettis Sr WR
The 5-9, 165-pounder is top target for junior quarterback Ben Somers.
Ben Somers Jr QB
Somers beat out three other players in the offseason to win the starting job. In the team’s 17-14 win over neighborhood rival Marist in Week 4, he accounted for both of Brother Rice’s TDs.
Denver Warren Sr DT
One of the top recruits for the Class of 2020, the 6-3, 300-pounder has offers from LSU, Michigan and Illinois.
SERIES HISTORY IN HOLECEK ERA
2018 — Ramblers 13, Brother Rice 3 (Class 8A state final)
2018 — Brother Rice 35, Loyola 3
2017 — Ramblers 28, Brother Rice 7
2016 — Ramblers 48, Brother Rice 37
2015 — Ramblers 28, Brother Rice 0
2014 — Ramblers 31, Brother Rice 14 (Prep Bowl playoffs)
2014 — Brother Rice 16, Ramblers 13
2013 — Ramblers 24, Brother Rice 3
2012 — Ramblers 45, Brother Rice 0
2011 — Ramblers 20, Brother Rice 13
2010 — Ramblers 49, Brother Rice 27
2009 — Ramblers 24, Brother Rice 7
2008 — Brother Rice 16, Loyola 7
2007 — Ramblers 35, Brother Rice 14
2006 — Ramblers 17, Brother Rice 14
BY THE NUMBERS
0 — Loyola punts Saturday against Saint Ignatius. The Ramblers only encountered three fourth downs in 32 plays, converting one.
3 — Games in which the Ramblers have held an opponent to seven points or less. After allowing 27 in the opener, they’ve given up an average of 8.2 points a game.
6 — Ramblers to score touchdowns in Saturday’s 58-6 win over Saint Ignatius. Junior running back Vaughn Pemberton scored three TDs, while senior running back Trevor Cabanban, senior Tyler Flores, senior quarterback John Grogan, senior Matty Mangan and sophomore Marco Maldonado each scored one.
58 — Record number of points scored in a single game by the Ramblers in 14 seasons under Loyola Head Coach John Holecek. The previous high was 56, most recently in a 56-14 win over St. Rita in 2015.
70 — Conversion percentage for the Ramblers on fourth downs in 10 attempts.
98 — Yards covered on junior running back Vaughn Pemberton’s third rushing TD on Saturday. It’s Loyola’s longest play from scrimmage this season.
373 — Difference in total yards between Ramblers and Saint Ignatius. Loyola totaled 480, averaging 15.0 yards per play, while the Wolfpack managed 107 yards, averaging 2.1 yards per play. Saint Ignatius faced 13 third downs to three for Loyola.
2-MINUTE DRILL WITH MARTY AUER
The junior defensive back played his first significant snaps on defense in Week 4 after an injury forced junior cornerback Artis Benjamin to the sideline. Auer intercepted a pass and blocked a field goal in a 17-14 loss to Mount Carmel. In his first start Saturday, Auer continued his productivity, making three tackles and blocking an extra point. Both blocks are the first of his varsity career.
How important was Saturday’s win over Saint Ignatius for the team?
AUER: It was really big. After losing to Mount Carmel, we needed to bounce back. I think we learned a lot from that loss and got better. It was huge for our overall confidence.
Before Week 4, you mostly were used on special teams and clearly have a knack for it. Why is that?
AUER: The coaches had me blocking kicks in practice during the summer, and I did well with it. My reactions are pretty good. I got put on the outside, along with [senior] Daniel O’Flaherty, to start the season. He had a block in the opener, and I have two blocks now. It wasn’t something I really saw coming. I guess teams will have to put better blockers on us.
Your brother, Eddie Auer, was a senior kicker on last year’s team that suffered early season losses before capturing a Class 8A State Championship. What can you learn from what that team experienced?
AUER: The regular season is for us to improve. We want to win every game, of course, but the goal is to be the best team at the end of the season. Being able to see the rough patches the team went through last year is something we can relate to this season. People doubted them and weren’t fully convinced what they could do.
This is a must-win game for the Ramblers, if they want any shot at capturing the CCL/ESCC Blue championship. They last won a league title in 2017. If Mount Carmel beats Marist on Friday, the best Loyola can do is a tie for first. Loyola’s last conference game is Week 9 at home against Marist. ... For the second time under Holecek, the Ramblers and Brother Rice played twice in the same season last year. The Crusaders beat Loyola in Week 4 before the Ramblers got revenge in the Class 8A state final. In 2014, Brother Rice beat Loyola during the regular season, but the Ramblers beat the Crusaders in the semifinals of the Prep Bowl playoffs. Loyola beat Curie to win the Prep Bowl Championship. The Ramblers are 12-3 against the Crusaders in Holecek’s 14 seasons. They are 41-15 against Catholic League powers Brother Rice, Mount Carmel, Providence Catholic and St. Rita under Holecek. ... Loyola’s offense stuffed the stat sheet Saturday and seems to be figuring out its identity. With a veteran offensive line and three quarterbacks who entered the season with no varsity playing experience, the Ramblers showed their strength on the ground. They ran 23 times for 299 yards, averaging 13.0 yards per carry. Junior running back Vaughn Pemberton led the way, running eight times for 158 yards. Six players scored rushing TDs. For the season, Loyola has 1,091 rushing yards and averages 5.8 yards per attempt. Five players — Pemberton, senior Trevor Cabanban, senior Tyler Flores, junior Perrion McClinton, sophomore Marco Maldonado — have 132 yards or more rushing yards this year. A running back, Flores returned to the field where he injured his knee last year and missed the final nine games of the season. He ran two times for four yards and caught a 36-yard TD pass. “He’s a great teammate,” Loyola Head Coach John Holecek said. “He’s not getting all the carries he probably wants, but he’s a guy that has really matured so nicely. The comments to his teammates, the enthusiasm and the toughness. I can't say enough about how much I respect him as a football player.”... The defense also put together one of its best performances of the season. The Ramblers limited Saint Ignatius to 107 total yards, and the Wolfpack went 3-for-13 on third down attempts. Loyola’s defense especially is strong against the run, surrendering an average of 1.9 yards per carry for the season. Teams have converted 28.3 percent of third downs. ... Loyola’s Hellenic Alumni Association is hosting a free tailgate at noon Saturday in advance of the Homecoming game against Brother Rice. The organization has created a scholarship for needy students of Hellenic backgrounds at Loyola.
THEY SAID IT
“It gives not only us confidence, but it gives the defense plenty of confidence. The defense has been playing their tails off all season, and when they have to keep going back in, they lose confidence in us and the team. The offense knew we had to make a statement to everyone. That’s what was expected from our coaching staff.” — Loyola junior quarterback JT Thomas