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FOOTBALL: Big plays spark Loyola to a 20-12 win over East English Village

   | Branden Hunter

State Champs! Sports Network

The storyline surrounding Detroit Loyola all summer was the departure of Malik McDowell from the program. McDowell, arguably the best player in the state, decided to transfer to another school after playing three years at Loyola. Some wondered how this year's team would fare without their best player.

The Bulldogs answered that question, coming away with a 20-12 win over Detroit East English Village Prep. And during the post-game interviews, head coach John Callahan decided to address the matter.

"I have a hard time talking to the media, because you guys have been so busy writing about players that we don't have", he said. "We have kids that take the bus four hours to get to practice, and some that don't eat in the morning, or until they get home."

"We have kids that have busted their butts every since last season ended, and they went out their today and did the same," he added.

Both teams started off slow, ending the first quarter in a scoreless tie while committing three total turnovers. East English Village Prep struck first midway through the second quarter, when quarterback Anton Curtis found receiver Armani Posey open, and Posey dragged several Loyola defenders into the endzone for an 18-yard score. A pass interference call on Loyola on a second and long helped keep that drive alive. East English Village Prep didn't have much time to celebrate, however, when Loyola senior Keith Graves took the ensuing kickoff 83-yards for a touchdown.

That was one of the many big plays on the day for Loyola, on both sides of the ball. Their defense contained the East English Village Prep offense for the majority of the day, only allowing 12 points  and forcing four turnovers. Right before the half, Loyola sophomore Anthony Fitzpatrick sacked a scrambling Anton Curtis, forcing a fumble near the East English Village Prep goal line. The ball rolled into the endzone, and Paul Engram for Loyola pounced on it for the touchdown. Fitzpatrick had two sacks on that drive, and Loyola took a 14-6 lead into the locker room.

Loyola's offense wasn't firing on all cyclinders either as they encountered stalled drives and three turnovers, but they made plays when they needed too. Late in the third quarter, Marvin Campbell took a handoff 70-yards for the score, giving Loyola the 20-6 lead with 4:55 remaining in the quarter. Campbell broke a few tackles, and found daylight up the sidelines, and finished with 196 yards on 17 carries.

"We were pushing the ball down the field, and I knew the big play would happen eventually," said Campbell. "I saw the outside open, I gave someone a stiff arm, and I turned on the speed to score." East English Village Prep would add another score with 3:32 remaining on another Armani Posey catch and run for a touchdown. The Bulldogs pulled within eight, at 20-12, but the opposing Bulldogs dug in and kept the game out of reach.

Loyola ran the ball the final three minutes, burning down the clock on East English Village Prep in the process. On a 4th and 2 with :32 seconds remaining, Alan Taylor lunged for a first down, securing the 20-14 win for Loyola.

"I thought East English Village Prep had a great game, and they shut some things we did down", Callahan said. "We played well too, but if we're going to be competitive at all in the Catholic League, we have a lot of work to do.