The similarities between yesterday's loss to City and Loyola's upset of Poly two weeks ago probably made the loss all the more painful for Dons coach Joe Brune.
Behind strong efforts by its defense and running back David Rodgers (33 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown), No. 15 City (4-3, 2-3) upset the seventh-ranked Dons (4-2, 4-2), 14-7, in a key Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference game at Loyola's Hargaden Field yesterday.
Two weeks ago, it had been Loyola's defense and Brad Hoag's 100-yard rushing game that sparked the Dons to an upset of then-No. 1 Poly on the Engineers' field.
Apparently, Loyola did not pay heed to Brune's words after the win over Poly, when he said, "From here on, every game is a big game."
Said Brune: "We had no intensity [yesterday]. We were waiting for something to happen instead of making something happen. That's a problem we have to work on."
The loss dropped Loyola from a three-way tie for first place in the conference to fourth. The Knights, who lost their first two games this season by a total of six points, are in sixth place. A loss yesterday would have all but ended City's chances for the conference championship.
"I've been saying that we're close to being undefeated. Forest Park was the only team that really was better then we were and beat us," said City coach George Petrides, whose team lost, 12-0, to Forest Park last week.
City's defense, which has allowed only 49 points this season, held Loyola to just 63 yards of total offense, 35 yards rushing. Hoag was limited to 31 yards on 12 carries. Loyola's only first down came on its fourth-quarter touchdown.
The Knights' offensive line also did a nice job, as it was able to open holes for Rodgers and Antonio Travers (eight carries for 57 yards).
"I stressed that I felt we could run inside," Petrides said. "We were out late Friday working with the offensive line, and they came through."
City took a 6-0 lead on a 57-yard drive that culminated in Terrence Suber's 12-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Nole on fourth-and-four with 8 minutes, 35 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
In the first half, Loyola did not advance beyond its own 42-yard line and was penalized for more yards (26) than it gained in total offense (17).
Rodgers anchored City's next scoring drive, carrying the ball on all seven plays in the drive for 59 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run. Rodgers' run for the two-point conversion gave the Knights a 14-0 lead with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter.
Loyola was given an opportunity to get back in the game when City's punt-return team broke down on successive punts in the fourth quarter.
Charles Ransom of City unsuccessfully tried to field a low punt, and Hoag recovered for Loyola at its 36.
Unable to capitalize on City's miscue, Loyola punted again. This time, City's Akil Trice fumbled the punt, and John Balcerzak recovered for the Dons at City's 30. Three plays later, Chris Ginter caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bill Evans with 2:36 left. Ginter's extra point made it 14-7.
Loyola got the ball back on its 43 with 1:15 left, but Lydon Dawkins intercepted Evans' pass on second down to seal the victory for City.