Loyola wide receiver Jordan Floyd said his team learned something important in its season-opening 24-20 loss to DeMatha Saturday at the I-95 Kickoff Classic at Morgan State's Hughes Stadium.
"We realize we're better than we think we are," the senior said. "We were down 14-0 to a perennial powerhouse, and we fought back. We really showed ourselves [that] if we come out with that intensity, it shouldn't even be a game."
The Stags took their 14-0 lead in the first 10:15 when Charlie Jordan broke a 77-yard touchdown run and Chris King added a 71-yard scoring run.
Dons coach Brian Abbott wasn't happy about the big plays, but he chalked up the early troubles to his team getting used to some new players, including junior quarterback Jake Clise, a transfer from Queen Anne's.
"To go down 14, show character, get back in the game — we put ourselves in it, gave ourselves an opportunity," Abbott said. "I think as this team plays together with a new quarterback and a few new moving pieces, they're just going to get better and better."
It didn't help that the No. 12 Dons lost wide receiver Deemer Class to an ankle injury in the first quarter, but that didn't keep them from coming back.
Less than a minute after King's touchdown, Clise scored on a 58-yard run. Bennett Bradley added the point after to pull within 14-7 with 57 seconds to play in the first half.
That began a Dons run in which they scored all 20 of their points in a little more than nine minutes. Clise hit Floyd with a 21-yard touchdown pass and Kacy Kapinos with a 32-yard strike. Kapinos's touchdown and Bradley's extra point put the Dons ahead 20-14 with 3:44 left in first half.
That lead, however, would last only 11 seconds, because Jordan, who ran for 202 yards on 19 carries, added his second touchdown, racing 65 yards on the Stags' next play from scrimmage.
The only scoring in the second half came on Jason Dillon's 36-yard field goal, which gave the Stags a 24-20 lead with 7:05 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Dons marched 83 yards to DeMatha's two-yard line, aided by a 37-yard pass from Clise to Matt Higgins and a personal foul call on the Stags.
But Loyola couldn't get in the end zone, as Clise's fourth-and-goal pass was batted down by the Stags' Michael Moore.
"I just tried to get a play action to get somebody going in the end zone, but they brought a blitz and they were able to knock the ball down," said Clise, who finished with (119 yards on 12-for-24 passing and 89 yards rushing on 11 carries.
After the turnover on downs, the Stags (1-0) ground out 13 running plays to run the clock down to 49 seconds.
L 7 13 0 0 -- 20
D 14 7 3 0 -- 24
D—Jordan 77 run, DIllon kick
D—King 71 run, Dillon kick
L—Clise 58 run, Bradley kick
L—Floyd 21 pass from Clise, kick failed
L—Kapinos 32 from Clise, Bradley kick
D—Jordan 65 run, Dillon kick
D—Dillon 32 FG
Loyola kicker Bennett Bradley was misidentified in the original version of this story. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun