It was was supposed to be a mismatch – a stronger, deeper, not to mention nationally reknowned program against a young Loyola Blakefield squad, which struggled down the stretch last year.
It was anything but.
Not intimidated in the least, Brian Abbott’s young Dons landed the first blow in their encounter with DC powerhouse DeMatha, Saturday in the third game of the I-95 Kickoff Classic at Towson University, and kept slugging away with the heavily favored Stags well into the send half. Ultimately, the fourth quarter and the game belonged to DeMatha, which pulled away for a 45-31 victory.
Loyola signaled that it came to play on the very first possession of game, as quarterback Mike Fafaul engineered an 80 yard, 12 play drive, capped by a one yard TD flip from Fafaul to Jordan Floyd.
Fafaul, ready to establish himself as the latest in a run of good Loyola quarterbacks, was an equalizer. He finished the contest with 17 completions on 37 attempts for 237 yards and three touchdowns. He was, however, intercepted twice in the second half, the second of which was returned 70 yards for a touchdown by DeMatha’s Jordan Lomax. That score pushed the Stags in front 38-24, with 6:13 to play, virtually ending any chance of a Loyola victory.
“They obviously had an advantage in size and numbers, but we had an opportunity to make some plays,” said Loyola head coach Brian Abbott. “We prepare for this every day, but it is hard to simulate going against bigger guys.
“We played very well as a group of youg men and brothers.”
Fafaul went 4-for-6 on the opening drive, with the key play being a 20-yard completion to Deemer Class which setup the Dons with a first and goal at the DeMatha one. Class had three grabs on the march for 43 yards.
DeMatha returned the ensuing kick 85 yards for a score, but a holding call brought the ball back to the Loyola 33. Three players later, however, Delonte Morton crashed off right tackle for a nine yard scoring burst.
Morton was one of a wave of backs which the Stags ran at the Dons. He was also the most effective, using his 6-foot-2, 222 pound frame to ramble for 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Josh McPhearson aslo had a big game for DeMatha, rushing for 94 yards and a score.
The heavily favored Stags appeared to restore order in the second quarter, as they went 58 yards in eight plays and scored on a one yard run by quarterback Nikolay Uherek, to take a short-lived 14-7 lead.
The Dons needed just one offensive snap to get the tying score. Fafaul connected with Class on an out pattern to the rightt side and the junior took it to the house. Class cut back across the field and outran the DeMatha defense down the left sideline.
Class struck again moments later, this time on defense. Playing corner, Class jumped an out rout and returned an interception 28 yards to the DeMatha 20. Fafaul then led the Dons back into the end zone with an 11 yard toss to Ryan Young and a nine yard TD strike to Floyd.
DeMatha’s Michael Branthover capped the high scoring first half with a 35-yard field goal, bringing the score to 21-17.
In the third quarter, DeMatha went back in front on an 18 yard scoring run by McPhearson, but Loyola regained the lead, early in the fourth quarter, on a 20 yard field goal by Jamie Dubyoski.
“We got better today,” said Loyola senior linebacker Jordan Horne. “We did not feel like underdogs and we played up to their level.”
|DeMatha 45, Loyola Blakefield 31
|LOY-Floyd 1 pass from Fafaul (Dubyoski kick)|
|DeM-Morton 9 run (Branthover kick)|
|DeM-Uherek 1 run (Branthover kick)|
|LOY-Class 73 pass from Fafaul (Dubyoski kick)|
|LOY-Floyd 8 pass from Fafaul (Dubyoski kick)|
|DeM-Branthover 35 FG|
|DeM-McPhearson 18 run (kick failed|
|LOY-Dubyoski 20 FG
|DeM-Morton 36 run (Siwicki run)|
|DeM-Lomax 70 interception return (Branthover kick)|
|DeM-Williams 8 run (Branthover kick)|
|LOY-Class 5 pas from Janoskie (Dubyoski kick)|