Among Loyola's three victories in football last season was a season-ending 21-20 overtime thriller over rival Calvert Hall in the Turkey Bowl -- preserved when Jake Nordhausen blocked a potential game-tying extra point to end Loyola’s four-game losing streak to the Cardinals.
Because it happened in Loyola's biggest game of the season, it ended a disappointing season on a high note. The Dons hope to carry that spirit into the 2014 season, which starts Friday at St. Paul's at 4 p.m.
Nordhausen, 6 feet 5, 220 pounds, will be back at defensive end and tight end, and coach Brant Hall hopes to see more of that season-ending magic from him and his teammates.
“It certainly is still fresh in our minds because it’s the last game they played last year and we will continue to think about that, but we’ve got to move forward,” Hall said. “The guys have to use that as momentum.”
Loyola and Calvert Hall won't meet until Nov. 27, and the Don will play 10 games before that, leading off with St. Paul's.
Senior Ben Evans (6-2, 210), who split time at linebacker and quarterback last season, will focus on linebacker this year.
“He’s the best player on the team,” Hall said. “Defensively, he plays with an intensity and aggression that a lot of kids can’t match.”
Senior Ryan Gallagher (5-10, 225) and junior Darren Seward (6-3, 240) join him at linebacker.
They’ll back up ends Nordhausen and Dominic Clark (6-4, 200) and interior linemen Austin Hurdle (5-11, 225), Trey Thomas (5-10, 215) and Tyler Covey (6-1, 270).
Guards Gallagher and Covey, tackle Seward and center Hurdle are two-way starters who will be joined on the offensive line by senior tackle Patrick Eby (6-3, 220) and senior tight end John Staab (6-2, 225).
Their job is to protect senior quarterback John Goska (5-11, 180) and open holes for junior running backs Isaiah Hayes (5-8, 170), Biafra Okoronkwo (5-10, 170) and Mike Bell (6-0, 175).
Senior wideout Will D’Angelo (6-1, 180) should be a threat in the passing game.
Sophomore Andreus Price (5-11, 155) is another “very good athlete with great hands,” Hall said.
Stopping the passing game will be essential, and Hall hopes Hayes, Bell and sophomore Kenneth Lewis (6-0, 155) can fill the void at cornerback, with senior Connor Novak (5-11, 180) and junior Rick Nickel (5-11, 170) doing the same at safety.