Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Not only has Loyola...

...not lost a game since 2014, but the Ramblers haven't lost to Fenwick since 2006. (That was long before Friar coach Gene Nudo arrived at the Oak Park school in 2012.) So Loyola has a 21-game winning streak as well as a six-game winning streak over Fenwick on the line when the two undefeated teams meet at Triton College, above, on Friday night. It's my Game of the Week.

Before we get to the recent history between these two programs, here's a look at their 2016 schedules so far (home team in CAPS).

Loyola -- last year's 8A champion -- is ranked No. 1 everywhere:

Loyola 36, MARQUETTE (WI) 7
LOYOLA 44, Maine South 43
Loyola 35, MOUNT CARMEL 28
LOYOLA 55, St. Francis 0

Fenwick, for its part, is also 4-0 after a disappointing 3-6 finish in 2015. The Friars are ranked No. 12 in both the Tribune and the Sun-Times and No. 23 in MaxPreps:

FENWICK 34, Phillips 26
FENWICK 51, Bowen 0
FENWICK 38, Montini 6
Fenwick 36, LEO 8

So each team has two "quality" wins, Maine South and Mount Carmel for Loyola, and Phillips and Montini for Fenwick. I know Maine South is much improved over last year because I've seen them play twice (including that Loyola game). But how different are Phillips and Montini from last year's 4A and 6A championship squads? Well, Phillips is 3-1 so far with big victories over Richards and Simeon, while Montini is only 1-3. But look at the Broncos' schedule: Maine South, Lake Zurich, Fenwick and Brother Rice! And they still have to play Marmion, De La Salle and Mount Carmel! Who the heck is responsible for that?

Beth Long has a nice preview of Friday night's game in today's Sun-Times. The key takeaway: of the most athletic quarterbacks in the area in the Friars’ Jacob Keller. The 6-4, 195-pound signal caller, also a star basketball player, has offers to play in college in both sports.

Can the Friars upset the Ramblers in River Grove tomorrow night? Here are the results from the last several years:

2015: Loyola 54, FENWICK 16
2014: LOYOLA 42, Fenwick 0
2013: N/A
2012: LOYOLA 49, Fenwick 28
2011: Loyola 47, FENWICK 7
2010: LOYOLA 45, Fenwick 7
2009: Loyola 31, FENWICK 7
2008: N/A
2007: N/A
2006: FENWICK 20, Loyola 0
2005: LOYOLA 31, Fenwick 7
          Fenwick 10, Loyola 7 (Catholic League tournament)
2004: Loyola 7, FENWICK 6


If you're still reading at this point, here's a little personal info. I'm taking my brother (who attended Loyola in the 1960s) and my younger son to the game. But first we're going on a whirlwind tour of the area: West Suburban Hospital (where my parents, all my siblings and I were born, and where my great aunt worked as a nurse when they brought her brother after he was shot and killed by Al Capone's gang back in the '20s), my mother's two-flat in Austin, my dad's house in Oak Park, Fenwick and Ascension (where my father went to school), my grandparents' apartment building and, finally, the Oak Park Arms, where my mother's mother lived out her last days. Then it's on to Russell's Barbecue and Triton College for the game! Sound like a plan?

As I've tried to explain (with only limited success), my interest in high school football goes far beyond the gridiron. Of course I like football (although I've never claimed to be an expert), but I'm actually a bit of an amateur sociologist. I think I can tell a lot about someone just by where they went to high school. Two of my brothers went to Loyola (one of whom played on the 1965 City Championship team) and Fenwick is the alma mater of my dad and his two brothers and countless cousins on both sides of my family.

So there's a lot of history here for me.

Who will I be rooting for? In this case Fenwick. (I nearly always root for the underdog.) But what's my prediction? I'd say the Ramblers by about two touchdowns -- let's say 28-14.

I'll be live-tweeting the game @BoringOldWhtGuy. Can't wait!

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