Minooka did an excellent job setting the scene on Saturday. Fans packed the stadium, the band played, the team ran out through a smoke machine and an inflated helmet. It was time for playoff football.
And then Loyola, which has played in the last three Class 8A state championship games, smacked the football-crazed community right in the mouth.
The Ramblers first play from scrimmage was an 80-yard touchdown pass. It went from quarterback Jack Fallon to backup quarterback Matthew Schiltz (lined up as a receiver) to a totally wide-open Rory Boos streaking down the sideline.
‚ÄúIt was awesome,‚ÄĚ Fallon said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve been practicing that all week. It was a great throw by Matt.‚ÄĚ
The Indians never recovered. Loyola dominated, beating No. 14 seed Minooka 38-14 in the first round of the Class 8A state playoffs.
It‚Äôs the first time the Ramblers, the No. 19 seed, have started their playoff run on the road since 2006. It turned out to be a nice trip to the far southwest suburbs.
‚ÄúThis is a cool environment, the grass [field] adds to it,‚ÄĚ Loyola coach John Holecek said. ‚ÄúThey were great hosts.‚ÄĚ