Loyola gobbles up Calvert Hall, 40-6

Dons notch 11th straight Turkey Bowl victory, Coach Brune's 200th win

November 26, 1999|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Loyola coach Joe Brune said he was somewhat concerned prior to yesterday's 80th annual Turkey Bowl because his players seemed more rambunctious than usual on the bus ride to PSINet Stadium.

"I mean, literally, they were bouncing off the walls," said Brune.

Once they arrived at their destination, however, they found a more productive way to channel their energy -- by bouncing rival Calvert Hall.

En route to a 40-6 victory, the Dons put up nearly 300 yards of offense in the first half and built a 33-0 lead. The win was Loyola's 11th straight against the Cardinals and the 200th in Brune's career.

"I was afraid we'd go out and make a lot of mistakes," said Brune, who is in his 33rd season. "Sometimes you can get a little too sky-high, but they knew what they were doing."

It was the sixth-largest margin of victory for either school in the venerable series and third-largest for Loyola, which holds a 42-30-8 edge.

The Dons (6-5) did it with a dominating running game that amassed 333 yards, led by running back Mike Alfone (19 carries, 136 yards, three touchdowns), fullback Brian Miller (seven for 109, one touchdown) and quarterback Brennan Creaney (five for 56, one touchdown).

"The holes were huge today," said Creaney, who also threw for a touchdown. "Every time, no matter what play we ran, there was a hole there. The guys up there got the job done."

Led by tackles George Gavrila (6 feet 5, 300 pounds), Brett Smagala (6-2, 225) and Aaron DeGraffenreidt (6-1, 290), guards Derek Melchor (6-4, 245) and Mark Baird (5-10, 185), and center Rob Collins (5-10, 230) Loyola's offensive line constantly opened gaping holes, allowing backs to easily break into the secondary.

"If there is one secret in the last few years about our success, I think our offensive line just seems to come on strong as the year goes on," said Brune.

"Even in some games where we didn't play well, I thought the line was really coming off the ball."

One of the biggest plays came midway through the first quarter, with the Dons ahead 7-0. Faced with a third-and-23 from their 40, Miller broke a trap up the middle for 26 yards and a first down.

Miller then followed with consecutive runs of 31 yards, on another trap, and 3 yards for a touchdown, extending the lead to 14-0 with 1: 35 left in the first quarter.

"We just couldn't handle their run game," said Calvert Hall first-year coach Jay Robinson.

"We didn't adjust well to the things they were doing to us in the first half, running-wise. We came in at halftime and made the necessary adjustments, but the damage was done at that point."

The Cardinals (4-6), meanwhile, could muster little on offense, managing just 61 yards through three quarters before Robinson installed Bobby Griffin at quarterback, and the mobile junior led his team on a 12-play, 50-yard scoring drive late in the game.

The Dons said that while a shutout would have been nice, their main goal was to give their coach a holiday present.

"Nobody really talked about it much, but I know we were all thinking it. Coach Brune says that he doesn't care about his 200th win -- that it's all about us," said Creaney. "But it was really good to come out here on Thanksgiving and give it to him."

Said Brune, 200-129-1 for his career: "I'm fortunate. I've been able to stay at a school where they have good stability and great kids to work with. Some places you can work just as hard, but if the kids don't come through "

When asked if he would be back for another season, Brune smiled.

"I think so," he said, "but you never know."

Robinson, who finished his first season at Calvert Hall with four wins, shook his head in awe of Brune's career accomplishments.

"At this rate, I'll have to coach another 44 years to catch Coach Brune," he said.

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