How much does it mean to Loyola coach Joe Brune to defeat rival Calvert Hall on Thanksgiving Day?
More than upsetting the area's top-ranked team.
No. 8 Loyola, which beat then-No. 1 Poly on Oct. 13, defeated Calvert Hall, 29-12, before approximately 9,000 at Memorial Stadium yesterday in the 71st meeting between the two schools.
"Beating Poly was good, but this is better," said Brune, in his 24th season at Loyola. "There's so much tradition involved in this game."
With yesterday's victory, the Dons extended their lead in the series to 33-30-8. Loyola (7-2, 6-2), which has won five of its past six meetings with the Cardinals, concluded its first winning season since 1987 in third place in the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference. Calvert Hall (4-6, 3-5) finished tied for sixth in the conference.
Loyola sophomore quarterback Bill Evans, who did not play in the win over Poly because of a strep throat, rushed for a touchdown and passed for another, and junior tailback/defensive back Brad Hoag ran for 64 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted a pass.
"It's never a problem getting fired up for Calvert Hall," said Hoag, who ran for an 81-yard touchdown on Loyola's first offensive play in last year's game.
Said Evans: "[Playing well] definitely meant a lot to me. It was tough not to play against Poly, but Chris [Rimorin] did a great job in that game."
Loyola dominated the first half, scoring on its first three possessions to build a 22-0 halftime lead. The Dons' defense limited Calvert Hall to just one first down and 54 yards of offense in the half.
Evans (39 yards rushing) completed four of seven passes for 47 yards, all in the first half.
"We came out and passed more and that surprised them a bit," Evans said. "All year we have relied on the run."
And Loyola ran as well, rushing for 104 yards in the half.
"A lot of good things happened in the first half," Brune said. "We played with a lot of emotion."
The Dons drove 39 yards on their opening possession, capped (( by Evans' 1-yard touchdown run. Loyola added two more touchdowns in the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Hoag and a 10-yard pass from Evans to Reggie Thornton.
Thanks in part to its special teams, Calvert Hall made the game interesting in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns in a span of 2 minutes, 28 seconds.
Calvert Hall's Joe Antonelli blocked Chris Ginter's punt and Christian Washington recovered for the Cardinals at Loyola's 9-yard line. On second down, Bryan Healy threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Ed Grant to pull the Cardinals within 22-6 with 5:30 remaining.
The Dons had to punt on their next possession, and Calvert Hall again went for the block. This time, Ginter scrambled and managed to get off the kick, but it went just four yards, giving the Cardinals the ball at Loyola's 30. Will Harcum then ran 30 yards for a touchdown to cut the Dons' lead to 22-12 with 3:02 left.
Loyola put the game out of reach, however, on Hoag's 13-yard touchdown run with 7:42 remaining in the game.
"We talked about the word 'character' at halftime," Calvert Hall coach Bill Mackley said. "We made some dumb mistakes in the first half and at halftime we said we were better than that. They put the mental mistakes behind them in the second half and we were fortunate to score two touchdowns."