Loyola ends York's perfect season

  • Loyola's Johnny McGuire (33) is wrapped up by a host of York Players during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Johnny McGuire (33) is wrapped up by a host of York Players during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Reece Richardson (29) and David Loch (6) bring down Loyola's Corey Larsen (11) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Reece Richardson (29) and David Loch (6) bring down Loyola's Corey Larsen (11) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Corey Larsen (11) looks back on his way in for a touchdown during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Corey Larsen (11) looks back on his way in for a touchdown during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Corey Larsen (11) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Quinn Foley (3) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Corey Larsen (11) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Quinn Foley (3) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Jake Stearney (15) throws on the run during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Jake Stearney (15) throws on the run during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Damian Glodz (36) and Nico Ruggieri (82) celebrate a field goal during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Damian Glodz (36) and Nico Ruggieri (82) celebrate a field goal during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Anthony Mancini Jr. (38) hauls in a long pass over Loyola's Emmanuel Ofosu (49) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Anthony Mancini Jr. (38) hauls in a long pass over Loyola's Emmanuel Ofosu (49) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Justin Trott (50) reaches up and gets a hand on York's Brian Grant (10) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Justin Trott (50) reaches up and gets a hand on York's Brian Grant (10) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Cole Ostendorf (21) tackles Loyola's Danny Herbert (10) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Cole Ostendorf (21) tackles Loyola's Danny Herbert (10) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Anthony Mancini Jr. (38) tries to move past Loyola's Johnny McGuire (33) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Anthony Mancini Jr. (38) tries to move past Loyola's Johnny McGuire (33) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Johnny McGuire (33) dives in for a touchdown during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Johnny McGuire (33) dives in for a touchdown during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Jack Korzeniowski (22) is called for pass interference as Loyola's Declan Forde (17) dives to attempt a touchdown reception during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Jack Korzeniowski (22) is called for pass interference as Loyola's Declan Forde (17) dives to attempt a touchdown reception during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Danny Herbert (10) moves upfield as York's Cole Ostendorf (21) David Loch (6) and Jack Korzeniowski (22) converge on him during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Danny Herbert (10) moves upfield as York's Cole Ostendorf (21) David Loch (6) and Jack Korzeniowski (22) converge on him during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Emmanuel Ofosu (49) and York's Charlie Specht (8) nearly collide while diving for an errant pass during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Emmanuel Ofosu (49) and York's Charlie Specht (8) nearly collide while diving for an errant pass during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Danny Herbert (10) dives after a loose ball with York's John Renier (52) close on his heels during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Danny Herbert (10) dives after a loose ball with York's John Renier (52) close on his heels during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Connor Dorner (17) with a shoestring tackle on Loyola's Quinn Foley (3) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Connor Dorner (17) with a shoestring tackle on Loyola's Quinn Foley (3) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Quinn Foley (3) is brought down by York's Marquan Brewster (12) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Quinn Foley (3) is brought down by York's Marquan Brewster (12) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Connor Dorner (17) denies a touchdown pass to Loyola's Declan Forde (17) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Connor Dorner (17) denies a touchdown pass to Loyola's Declan Forde (17) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Connor Dorner (17) denies a touchdown pass to Loyola's Declan Forde (17) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Connor Dorner (17) denies a touchdown pass to Loyola's Declan Forde (17) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Loyola's Declan Forde (17) is upended by York's Jacob Young (2) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      Loyola's Declan Forde (17) is upended by York's Jacob Young (2) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • York's Matt Sutter (7) dives after Loyola's Declan Forde (17) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst.

      York's Matt Sutter (7) dives after Loyola's Declan Forde (17) during the IHSA Class 8A semifinal football game Saturday November 19, 2022 in Elmhurst. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/21/2022 2:23 PM

In search of the first state trip in program history, York finally encountered an opponent Saturday it couldn't overcome.

That foe was perennial powerhouse Loyola, which ended the Dukes' perfect season with a 30-3 Class 8A semifinal victory in Elmhurst.

 

In advancing to their seventh title game since 2011, the Ramblers (12-1) will take on Lincoln-Way East next Saturday in Champaign.

"It's an unreal feeling," said Loyola senior defensive lineman Brooks Bahr, a Michigan recruit. "We prepared all season for this. Ever since last season when we lost to Lockport in the semis, we had this date locked into the calendar. We played our butts off and now we are going to state."

The Ramblers held York to 35 yards rushing and 99 yards passing and received two touchdown runs from Johnny McGuire and three fields goals from Michael Baker. Quarterback Jake Stearney also found Corey Larsen for a 70-yard score.

"We couldn't draw it up any better," said Loyola coach John Holecek, whose team won state titles in 2015 and 2018. "It was a well-executed game plan; everything kind of fell into place. The Catholic League prepares you for physical, nasty football. You don't see many weaklings so that prepares you for physical, tough games."

As for York (12-1), the lasting memories from a storybook season won't just be of their lofty achievements, which included a first perfect regular season, a program record 12 victories and a third trip to the semifinals, first since 2006. They will also be of an unbreakable bond between the players and the coaches.

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"Hopefully in a few days," senior quarterback Matt Vezza said, "we will be able to take time to reflect on how special this season was and how special this group is. And hopefully the underclassmen can keep this going. I want to come back and watch this team play in a state championship.

"We had a great season and hopefully we can appreciate that in the coming days. Everybody was committed to the same goal and that was to win a state championship. We had 90-plus kids moving in the same direction and that made it special. Everyone wanted to win and succeed."

The Dukes, who would trail 17-3 at halftime, got a 22-yard field goal by Damian Glodz midway through the second quarter.

"We've been playing together for so long," said Dukes senior wide receiver Charlie Specht, who caught three passes for 25 yards. "No matter what the outcome was, I wouldn't want it to end with any other group of guys. We've grown up together and been in every situation on the football field together."

Anthony Mancini also hauled in two receptions for 38 yards for the Dukes, who yielded just 143 total points in a season that also included the outright West Suburban Silver championship.

"You can tell our program is built on love, not fear," said York coach Mike Fitzgerald, whose program has a record of 22-3 over their past 25 games. "This senior group did everything I asked them to do and I can't imagine them not being at practice the next time we practice. They do things the right way and I'm not surprised by the results because of the type of character they have. They will leave a lasting legacy, their influence will be felt for years to come.

"Loyola is a great football team and they have a great program. That's what we are trying to work to be and I think we are closing the gap."

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