Loyola routs error-prone Severn; Tone for Dons' 41-14 win set by three botched punts by Admirals in first half


Instead of punting out of trouble, Severn punted into it against Loyola yesterday.

After upsetting Mount St. Joseph two weeks ago and not committing a single turnover, the host Admirals (1-1) couldn't get off a punt in the first half, leading to three Loyola scores, a 28-point halftime deficit and a 41-14 loss to the Dons (2-1).

Loyola of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference converted three botched punts and a fumble into four touchdowns and added a fifth score before intermission to humble the B Conference Admirals.

Loyola's domination in the trenches with its size advantage compounded Severn's costly mistakes.

Led by Division I tackle prospect George Gavrila, 6 feet 5 and 300 pounds, athletic linebacker Ricky Schultz (6-2, 210), who is an All-Metro lacrosse player, and junior defensive end Ramses Cloud, the Dons took command early and were never challenged.

"Absolutely, no team can come back from something like that, " said Severn coach John Beckman, whose Admirals lost last year's season opener, 42-6, at Loyola. "We dug too deep of a hole."

Faced with a fourth-and-nine situation at their 21 on the game's initial possession, the Admirals' Drew Habeck couldn't handle a high snap and ended up on top of the ball at his 2-yard line.

Loyola's Mike Alfone, who carried 10 times for 110 yards in the first half, took a quick pitch from quarterback Brennan Creaney in for a 3-yard score and Brian Neil's first of five extra-point kicks made it 7-0.

Severn got a 27-yard kickoff return from Brian Edgar, but another punting situation at its 19 found the Dons' Cloud snuffing Habeck's punt attempt and falling on the ball at the Admirals' 10.

It was Alfone for 3 yards, then 7 and a 14-0 lead not quite five minutes into the game.

John Blattner then intercepted Severn quarterback Tom Cleaver on first down at the Admirals' 31, but the Dons failed to capitalize and gave up the ball on downs at the 26.

But sophomore Sean Etter fumbled on first down and Cloud recovered it and ran it in for a touchdown. It was called back due to a clipping penalty, but six plays later, Conor Bell dove in from the 2 for a 21-0 lead as the first quarter ended.

The combination of Cleaver (10-for-25, 209 yards, two interceptions) to Ron Staines, who caught six passes for 155 yards, was a Severn bright spot in the dismal loss. The duo hooked up for their first of two touchdown passes on the first play of the second quarter for a 79-yard score and Habeck's kick was good to put the home team on the board.

Alfone shattered Severn's glimmer of hope by dashing 76 yards for a touchdown and a 28-7 Loyola lead with 11: 24 left in the half.

Forced to punt on the next series, Habeck chased another bad snap and was smothered by the Dons at the 3.

This time Creaney executed a nifty fake and kept it for a 7-yard touchdown run to make it 35-7 with 8: 04 remaining in the second quarter.

"I really liked the way we came back today," said Loyola coach Joe Brune, savoring his 196th career victory and referring to last week's stunning 14-7 loss at Westminster.

"It was especially pleasing because Severn is a better team than they were a year ago and we were worried about their passing."

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