By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
With his starting running back out with a knee injury and his top wide receiver hurt on the final play of the first half, Loyola coach Mike Greene needed help from where he could get it Thursday night against Green Oaks at Jerry Burton Stadium.
He found it on his own coaching staff.
Minus some of their top weapons, the Flyers still managed plenty of offense to pick up a 30-12 win over the Giants in the District 1-2A opener for both teams.
“(Offensive coordinator John) Sella and our offensive coaches did a great job because we keep having players getting hurt and we still put up 30 points,” Greene said.
Leading rusher Trace Wall never suited up and receiver John Carmody sat out the second half. Both are seniors, but not to fear because two freshmen helped out the cause.
Freshman Wyatt Lofton blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety in the second quarter and freshman Mason Drake rushed for 66 yards on 16 carries and scored his first varsity touchdown to seal the game in the fourth quarter.
But the Loyola play makers weren’t limited to just the offense. Senior linebacker Robert Pavlick ended one Green Oaks drive with a 31-yard interception return from deep in Loyola territory.
In the third quarter, Grayson Hutchins picked off a pass and looked to have a return for a touchdown, but it was called back for a holding penalty as he crossed the goal line.
Nevertheless, it set up a 1-yard run by Reagan Coyle to give Loyola a 23-6 lead late in the third quarter.
Also on defense, Gray Deason and Andrew DeFatta each had sacks after the Giants had reached the Loyola 11 in the second quarter to stop one threat and Deason later added a fumble recovery.
“I really thought it was the first full game we have played this year,” Greene said. “I was really proud of how hard we played offensively and defensively.”
The Flyers left a couple of other scoring chances on the doorstep. Carmody, who had a 13-yard scoring pass from Cooper DeFatta, was stripped at the 1-yard line as he reached for the end zone. Loyola also got the Green Oaks 8 on the next possession but missed a field goal.
“I always tell them that as long as you play hard, things are going to happen,” Greene said. “I never really get that worried because if you play hard, things will happen for you. I felt we played as a unit. I knew it was going to be a little wild, but it was the perfect time for them to come together.”
The win improved the Flyers’ record to 2-3 while the Giants fell to 2-4.
“We’ve got to clean up the silly mistakes,” Green oaks coach Chadwick Lewis said. “Jumping offsides, bad reads, forcing the ball when we don’t need to, holding penalties. That’s what’s holding us back. Right now we are just floating along. We want to get on the ship and get to where we are going.”
Green Oaks quarterback Tovoras Lee completed 14 of 25 passes for 199 yards with receiver Delarrious Marshall catching nine passes for 119 yards.
“We were still fighting,” Lewis said. “Our mentality is that we keep trying to score until we see zeros on the scoreboard. The effort is there. We just have to fix the mental part of it.”
Contact JJ at email@example.com
Loyola 30, Green Oaks 12
Score by quarters
Loyola | 7 | 9 | 7 | 7 | – 30
G. Oaks | 0 | 0 | 12 | 0 | – 12
L – Grayson Hutchins 10 run (Evan Lirette kick)
L – Safety, punt blocked out of end zone
L – John Carmody 11 pass from Cooper DeFatta (Lirette kick)
G – Toryun Ellis 1 run (pass failed)
L – Reagan Coyle 1 run (Lirette kick)
G – Ellis 7 run (pass failed)
L – Mason Drake 1 run (Lirette kick)
Loyola (46-222) – DeFatta 14-82, Drake 16-66, Coyle 14-60, Hutchins 1-10, Rowan Guthikona 1-2.
Green Oaks (27-98) – Ellis 14-70, Torvoras Lee 10-28, Joseph Carroll 2-1, Amarion Dorsey 1-minus-1.
Loyola (5-22-0, 75 yards) – DeFatta 5-22-0, 75 yards.
Green Oaks (14-25-2, 199 yards) – Lee 14-25-2, 199 yards.
Loyola – Carmody 2-24, Robert Pavlick 1-23, Coyle 1-22, Hutchins 1-6.
Green Oaks – Delarrious Marshall 9-119, Fred’Travious Benjamin 3-46, Dorsey 2-34.