By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
BATON ROUGE – What it came down to was Episcopal driving almost the length of the field in a tie game to win it with a 25-yard field goal with 1:01 to play.
That was the difference in a 10-7 win over Loyola in a Select-Division III second round playoff game at Memorial Stadium.
But to the Flyers, the difference might have come in other forms – mainly ball spotting by the officials.
On the game-winning drive, the Knights went for it on fourth-and-one at midfield with four minutes left to play. Though the mark indicated that any yardage gained on the quarterback sneak was minimal – at best – the officials moved the chains without a measurement.
Seven plays later, Aiden Romero’s field goal barely snuck in the left upright.
Earlier in the game, the Flyers had appeared to score a touchdown on the fifth play of the second quarter. Reagan Coyle was clearly in the end zone after a “Bush Push” play. But he was ruled down at the half-yard line.
Two plays later, the Flyers went for it on fourth down and didn’t make it – even though Episcopal had a 12th man running off the field as the ball was snapped.
“We played hard and we had our chances,” Loyola coach Mike Greene said. “In the second round of the playoffs, you have to take advantage of those chances.”
The Flyer offense was limited in the second half, never getting past the Episcopal 41. Loyola had only one first down in the entire second half, which Greene said was a direct result of the Knights going on two long scoring drives.
“It wasn’t like we were driving up and down the field,” Greene said. “We needed to pick up some first downs so we could get some guys on defense a rest. But we couldn’t do that.”
Loyola scored just before half after sophomore Patrick Gosslee picked up a fumble and his 15-yard return put the Flyers at the Episcopal 43 with 3:37 to go. A 14-yard pass from Cooper DeFatta to Robert Pavlick on third down set up the Flyers for a 1-yard sneak by DeFatta to put the Flyers on the board with 50 seconds left before halftime.
The Flyers looked to get another break on the first play of the second half with another fumble, but forward progress was ruled on running back Braeden George and the Knights kept the ball.
Episcopal tied it on a 13-play drive – converting two fourth downs – and scored on a 7-yard run by Reid Chauvin with 10:48 left in the game.
The next Loyola possession resulted in a punt to the Knights 14 to set the stage for the winning field-goal drive.
“We knew coming in they would be a disciplined, well-coached ball club,” said Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois. “Coach Greene’s an outstanding coach. Credit to him and his staff. Those guys came out ready to play. They gave us everything and more than we wanted. We had to fight for everything we got tonight.”
The Flyers finish at 6-5 while sixth-seeded Episcopal (10-1) will move on to play No. 3-seed Notre Dame.
“If you had told me after the third week of the season that we’d be here right now I would have told you you’re crazy,” Greene said. “With the injuries we had and the things these guys went through, I was proud to be here. It’s just that when you get to this point, you get greedy and you want more.”
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Episcopal 10, Loyola 7
Score by quarters
Episcopal | 0 | 0 | 0 | 10 | – 10
Loyola | 0 | 7 | 0 | 0 | – 7
L – Cooper DeFatta 1 run (Evan Lirette kick)
U – Reid Chauvin 7 run (Aldon Romano kick)
U – Romano 25 FG
Loyola (30-60) – Reagan Coyle 7-32, Trace Wall 9 -21, DeFatta 10-13, Grayson Hutchins 1-3, Jon Ebarb 2-minus-4, Team 1-minus-6.
Episcopal (46-202) – Braeden George 22-154, Chauvin 13-52, Lewis Ward 10-minus-3.
Loyola – DeFatta 8-20-0, 103 yards
Episcopal – Ward 7-12-0, 62 yards, Cooper Braud 0-1-0.
Loyola – John Carmody 3-18, Robert Pavlick 1-14, Coyle 1-33, Ebarb 2-27, Hutchins 1-14.
Episcopal – C.J. Washington 3-14, David Olinde 2-29, David Cresson 1-17, Walker Dauzat 1-3.