Loyola's Dons won their battle with rival Mount St. Joseph, but they lost something much more important yesterday.
With 7:42 left in the first half of No. 2 Loyola's 20-7 win over the visiting Gaels, quarterback Leon Kinnard was tackled after a short gain at the Mount St. Joseph 17-yard-line. The play looked innocent enough, but Kinnard lay on the field in obvious pain.
"He broke his [right] leg," Loyola coach Brian Abbott said of his quarterback, who has a scholarship to play at Connecticut next season. "My heart aches for him, because I know how hard he's worked to get where he is. Every coach preaches about adversity and overcoming it. Now we'll see if we can live up to that."
Kinnard suffered a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle. His family will see a surgeon this week.
Terence Garvin led the Dons (7-0, 2-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference) with 85 yards on 22 carries, and Leroy Bradford led the sixth-ranked Gaels (4-2, 1-1) with 57 yards on 12 rushes. Mount St. Joseph's Chris Constabile was four of 12 passing for 61 yards and an interception.
Backup Loyola quarterback Connor Bruns took advantage of his opportunity, using five consecutive running plays - four by Garvin - to get the Dons into the end zone with 5:10 left in the first half to increase the lead to 13-0.
"Coach always tells me to be ready, so I was," said Bruns, a junior. "Scoring [on that drive] was big for us. We had to punch it in and we did."
The Dons took a 6-0 lead on their first possession, when a 7-yard-run by Kinnard capped a 10-play, 56-yard drive with 6:14 left in the quarter.
After Garvin's touchdown, the Dons closed out their scoring when Warren Kalkstein capped a 16-play, 76-yard drive with a 1-yard run to make the score 20-0 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
The Gaels got on the board on their last drive. Renard Robinson found fellow wide receiver Andy Kvech for a 43-yard gain on a pass to take the ball to the Loyola 4 with 1:34 left in the game. Running back Artis Holt carried the ball in on the next play to cut the lead to 20-7 with 1:26 left.
After the ensuing onside kick failed, Bruns and the Dons ran out the clock.
The victory avenged the Dons' only loss from last season, when they shared the MIAA A Conference title with the Gaels. The win also puts them in the driver's seat in the A Conference.
"We really wanted this one," said Garvin, who will attend West Virginia next season on a football scholarship. "I've been waiting for this since last season. Our goal is to be undefeated, so this keeps us on track. We have Gilman on Friday, though, so it doesn't get any easier for us."