By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
Seven weeks ago, they were a combined 1-5. Now they are playing for the District 1-2A championship.
Both Calvary and Loyola went through the rigors of a tough schedule to start the season and have lived to tell about it. The two teams – both undefeated in district play at 4-0 – will square off Friday night at 7 o’clock at Messmer Stadium to decide the district champion.
“When I first saw our schedule, I was excited to see that we were going to play Loyola in the final game,” said Calvary coach Rodney Guin. “I kind of figured it might be for the district championship.”
Calvary has won six straight and is 7-2 overall and ranked No. 5 in the latest Class 2A state-wide poll. Loyola is on a five-game winning streak and is 5-3.
Both are in position to have a bye in the first round of the Select-Division III playoffs. Eight teams will get a bye with Calvary currently at No. 5 and Loyola at No. 8.
Each team features a balanced offense, with the Cavaliers more reliant on the passing game and the Flyers tilting more toward the run.
Calvary’s sophomore quarterback Abram Wardell has completed 94 of 110 passes for 1,655 yards with 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Running back James Simon has 753 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“They are going to be prepared,” Loyola head coach Mike Greene said of the Cavaliers. “You are going to have to beat them. You are going to have to execute in all phases of the game. They don’t beat themselves.”
Loyola has a rushing duo of senior quarterback Cooper DeFatta (575 yards, 10 touchdowns) and senior Trace Wall (532 yards, eight touchdowns). Wall is back from missing three games with an injury. DeFatta has also thrown for 810 yards and seven touchdowns.
DeFatta has been responsible for 12 touchdowns (rushing and passing) in the last three weeks.
“We’ve got to be able to control the quarterback,” Guin said. “He’s a very good player and whether it’s throwing the ball or running it, he does a lot of things well. You can tell he is a take-charge guy.”
Flyer linebacker Gray Deason is among the city leaders in tackles with 95.
The Cavs have had an amazingly low number of turnovers this season. “We have to continue to not turn the ball over,” Guin said. “We’ve gotten our penalties to almost nothing. We feel like we have a good football team. We just have to do what we do best.”
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Calvary (7-2, 4-0) at Loyola (5-3, 4-0)
Where: Messmer Stadium
Series: Calvary 4-0
Last year: did not play
Last week: Calvary beat Lakeside 63-0; Loyola beat North Caddo 41-22
Rankings: Calvary No. 6 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal poll, No. 5 in LSWA 2A poll; LCP No. 9 in Shreveport-Bossier Journal poll
LHSAA power rankings: Calvary No. 5, Loyola No. 8, Select Division III
Radio: Calvary (Promise, 90.7 FM)
Notables: With the District 1-2A title on the line, the Cavaliers ride a six-game win streak and have scored at least 52 points in all those games … sophomore quarterback Abram Wardell has 24 touchdowns and just three interceptions this season … sophomore running back James Simon (753 yards rushing, 71 yards receiving) is 176 yards shy of 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season.
There are a number of connections between the two schools. Calvary quarterbacks coach Steven Geter served as Loyola head coach from 2008-12 and 16-19 and has a son who is a senior at Loyola … Ronnie Hermes, the grandfather of Calvary wide receiver Aubrey Hermes, was the Flyers’ leading rusher in 1971 and 1972 … Calvary offensive coordinator Marvin Williams was a Flyer assistant in 2018 … Bryce Carpenter, who opened the season as the Cavs starting quarterback, transferred to Loyola after Week 3 … In more than 100 years of Flyer football, Calvary is the school Loyola has played the most and never beaten (0-4) … Loyola has scored 40 points or more in three straight games for the first time since 2016 … The Flyers have rushed for at least 200 yards in each of the last four games – the longest streak since 1992.
Green Oaks (2-7, 0-4) at Lakeside (4-5, 0-4)
Series: First meeting
Last year: did not play
Last week: Green Oaks lost to D’Arbonne Woods 28-14; Lakeside lost to Calvary 63-0
LHSAA power rankings: Green Oaks No. 19 Select Division III; Lakeside No. 29 Non-Select Division III
Notables: Both teams are looking to close out the regular season with their first District 1-2A victory … The Giants are coming off a tough 28-14 loss to D’Arbonne Woods … “It was very tough,” Green Oaks head coach Chadwick Lewis said of the Week 9 loss. “But being a young team, we still need to learn to get over the hump and finish a game. It’s like we are so close” … Lewis was very proud of the effort against D’Arbonne Woods, which presented a running threat. “It’s tough when you are young up front,” said the Giants’ coach … Other than the usual “Week 10 sores,” Green Oaks is relatively injury-free … The Giants will face more of a traditional spread team when they go to Sibley to face the Warriors … “Lakeside has a good quarterback and wide receiver,” said Lewis. “We must be able to corral them and keep them from getting loose. Again, we just have to stay mentally locked-in all four quarters for 48 minutes.”