Emotion-charged Gonzaga wins

McKenney's two TDs help stymie Loyola, 28-0

September 17, 2001|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

From the balcony of his home on 6th Street in the southwest area of Washington, Gonzaga senior Bakari McKenney says he can see the still-smoldering Pentagon.

A fellow student's mother died Tuesday in the airliner that was hijacked by terrorists and crashed into the Pentagon, where McKenney's two aunts work and escaped unharmed. A Gonzaga teacher lost a loved one as a result of one of the two airplane crashes that day in New York.

So, in yesterday's 28-0 victory over Loyola, McKenney tried to "run out all my anger and aggression." He finished with 156 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm five minutes from the Pentagon, 10 minutes from the Capitol. One of my aunts knew people who died, and almost had a nervous breakdown," said McKenney. "All you think is, `Are they going to come back and do it again?' "

The game was supposed to be the grand opening of a new stadium for the Dons (1-1), who were playing their first home game on newly grown grass. But any excitement was tempered by the events of the previous week, symbolized by a large, American flag that hung from a stone tower and danced in a light wind throughout the game.

Loyola's president, Father Jack Dennis, began with a general prayer, especially for three people associated with both schools whose relatives died in last week's tragedy.

Daniel McNeal, a 29-year-old 1990 graduate of Loyola, was a financial analyst for an investment banking firm on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. McNeal's body was found and identified late Thursday.

There was Michelle Heidenberger, a flight attendant, who died on the airplane that hit th ePentagon. Her son, Tommy, is a freshman at Gonzaga. Anita Lizas, a counselor at Gonzaga, has a son-in-law who is missing. He worked on the 105th floor of the first World Trade Center building.

"The kids have been shaken all week," said Andrew Battaile, an assistant coach and director of development at Gonzaga. "There were rumors of bombs at the State Department, confusion at the Capitol eight blocks from our school."

Loyola sophomore Chris Gillyard delivered his best rendition of the national anthem. "It was special," Gillyard said, "to be chosen to sing in tribute to all of the people who died."

Gonzaga, coming off a 31-0 loss at St. Albans, was beaten, 13-6, by Loyola at home last fall. Senior Reed Thompson passed for 135 yards and a touchdown to Azim Ross, rushed for a 5-yard touchdown and made all four extra-point kicks. Junior Jeff Anderson returned a fumble 40-yards to set up Thompson's 1-yard pass to Ross.

Last year, the Dons beat Gonzaga in the final coaching season of legendary Maus Collins, who finished with 321 career wins and 15 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference titles in 38 seasons at Gonzaga and Archbishop Carroll.

This year, Gonzaga beat Loyola in Joe Brune's 35th and final year coaching the Dons. He has 207 wins and will retire at the end of the season.

"We had some chances at the beginning, but Gonzaga played with pride," Brune said.

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