By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports
(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the Shreveport-Bossier Journal spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)
Loyola head coach Mike Greene knows his football players could have hung their heads after starting this season 0-3.
The Flyers lost the season-opener 38-7 to Captain Shreve and followed that with losses to Logansport (42-40) and North DeSoto (49-7).
“I told our guys, ‘A lot of teams would really get down being 0-3,’” says Greene.
Not the Flyers. In fact, they did just the opposite – they started a new streak.
Last week’s 41-14 win over Lakeside in Sibley was Loyola’s fourth victory in a row, raising their overall record to 4-3 and District 1-2A record to 3-0. Their other district wins came against Green Oaks and D’Arbonne Woods.
When Greene was coming up with the 2022 schedule, he intentionally put the Flyers up against some strong competition at the beginning of the season.
“I told the kids that when the schedule came out, we were going to start off with three tough games,” says Greene. “I don’t want to get to district and the playoffs and be surprised by anybody.”
For a while last Friday night, it looked like the Flyers might have trouble getting that fourth win in a row.
“I was worried about it at halftime because it seemed like we were sleep walking,” Greene said after the game.
If the Flyers were sleep walking in the first half against Lakeside, then they woke up as soon as they hit the field for the second half – scoring on their first three possessions.
The third quarter was highlighted by touchdown runs from senior quarterback Cooper DeFatta (7 and 8 yards) and senior running back Trace Wall.
DeFatta, who was an all-district linebacker last season, is becoming more and more comfortable in his new role.
“He’s come a long way at quarterback,” Greene says of DeFatta, who also had a touchdown pass to Robert Pavlick in the first quarter against Lakeside. “He’s taking what they give him, and he has started running the ball when he needs to. He’s managing the offense so much better.”
While the Flyers had to battle injuries through the first part of the season, they started getting healthy by the time district play began.
“We lost two guys in the Shreve game,” says Greene. “We had a lot of people hurt. But I knew when district started, our mainstay guys would be there.”
Greene has gotten strong play from his defense, led by senior linebackers Gray Deason and Pavlick and defensive backs Reagan Coyle (junior), Colin Lirette (senior), Grayson Hutchins (senior) and junior Rowan Guthikonda, who has also played outside linebacker.
“We played good defensively all night, but that kid (senior quarterback Cooper Chase) threw the ball so well,” Greene said of last week’s game, where Hutchins had an interception for the Flyers. “Colin Lirette played man-to-man almost all night and had a really good game.”
The Flyers will need strong performances from both sides of the ball if they want their winning streak to continue. They’ll be home at Messmer Stadium for the final two regular-season games – district matchups against North Caddo (6-2, 2-1) this Friday and Calvary (6-2, 3-0) on Nov. 4.
“We’re where we need to be,” says Greene. And that’s pretty far from where they started.
Contact Harriet at firstname.lastname@example.org