No. 1 Loyola keeps Brooks close to heart

Minus injured teammate, Dons top McDonogh, 10-7

Football

High Schools

October 03, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Although he is still hospitalized, the presence of Van Brooks was everywhere at Loyola High yesterday for a game between undefeated and No. 1-ranked Loyola and No. 4 McDonogh.

From the bright yellow pins with Brooks' No. 25 worn by Loyola fans, to a poster of support signed by the Loyola soccer team members to a white stadium blanket signed by Loyola families with notes of encouragement to Brooks and his parents, Brooks was not forgotten.

Volunteers manned tables and asked for donations to cover Brooks' medical expenses. A moment of silence for Brooks preceded the national anthem. Every Loyola player wore a yellow No. 25 sticker on his helmet, and many of them wrote 25 in magic marker on their biceps.

At one point during the Dons' 10-7 victory, when McDonogh was rallying, a Loyola father shouted, "Remember what you've got on your arms."

The Dons wanted to win for the junior wide receiver and defensive back, who suffered a spinal cord injury while making a tackle against Georgetown Prep last weekend and remains at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center listed in serious condition.

"There's nothing we can do but pray and wait for good things to happen," Loyola coach Brian Abbott said about Brooks. "Our boys are compassionate young men and this is a truly close team. It's your family. And when your family hurts, it's tough to keep going."

Loyola did keep it going, prevailing in a sloppy game during which the teams combined for 15 penalties and six turnovers. McDonogh made four turnovers and committed seven penalties.

Additionally, the Dons also had to overcome a potentially season-ending injury to starting quarterback Brady Smith. He played only the first series in the second half.

"Brady hit his throwing hand on a helmet and we have to hope the hand is not broken," Abbott said of his Connecticut-bound, 6-foot-2, 245-pound player who runs the option well and gives the Dons a balanced offense.

Smith scored Loyola's touchdown with 5:48 left in the first quarter on a 3-yard run, capping a 66-yard, 10-play drive that included a 15-yard pass to John Henry Clayton.

McDonogh (1-2), which supported Brooks by attending a Thursday night Mass at Loyola, tied the game with 5:33 left in the second quarter on a 2-yard run by Bryn Holmes, the game's leading rusher with 76 yards on 18 carries.

The score capped a 65-yard, seven-play drive and was set up by passes of 25 and 26 yards to Maryland-bound Darrius Heyward-Bey, who caught five passes for 85 yards.

The Eagles had 181 passing yards, and quarterback Jared Jorgenson was 10-for-25 for 136 yards and two interceptions -- one by Smith who also played defensive back.

Loyola's Brendan Small kicked a game-winning 26-yard field goal with 34 seconds left in the first half. It was his fourth field goal in five attempts.

"Brendan is a phenomenal kicker," Abbott said. "I feel comfortable with him from 45 yards."

Jake Quigg, with two sacks, led a Loyola defense that shut out McDonogh in the second half.

"We knew we had to put pressure on the quarterback and shut down No. 1 [Heyward-Bey] to win," Quigg said. "Everyone played with a lot of emotion today because of Van."

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