By Matt Harness
Instead of talking up his own skills, Cody Sullivan ceded almost all of the credit Saturday for his career-high three interceptions to his coaches.
Loyolas senior linebacker caught as many passes from Ethan Olles as Alex Nawrot, the Palatine quarterbacks third-leading receiver.
Sullivans second pick preceded Julius Holleys 2-yard touchdown run with 2:58 to go before the break, and the No. 5-ranked Ramblers never looked back in their 19-7 win over the seventh-ranked Pirates in the Class 8A quarterfinals.
I absolutely saw it all on film, Sullivan said. The coaches put us in the right spots. They told us where to be and good things happened.
Loyola (11-1) won for the 10th time in a row and is in the state semifinals for the fourth consecutive season. The Ramblers will play No. 8 Glenbard North at home Saturday for the second year in a row in the semifinals.
This feels good, but we still have things to work for, Sullivan said. Anything less that a state championship is not what we want this year.
Danny Rafferty picked off a pass on the first play of the game, and sophomore Mike Kurzydlowski kicked a 25-yard field for a lead Loyola never surrendered.
The Ramblers didnt allow a touchdown on defense for the third time in five games. Palatines points came on Cam Kuksas 47-yard punt return early in the third quarter that left the score 10-7 in favor of Loyola.
But the Ramblers responded by piecing together their best series of the game, a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Peter Pujals 21-yard scoring strike to Luke Ford to up the teams advantage to 16-7 with 7:16 left in the third quarter.
Even still, the senior quarterback deflected the applause.
The defense won that game for us, said Pujals, who finished 13-for-23 for 158 yards and didnt turn over the ball.
Palatine (10-2) lost for the first time since the opening week. The Pirates also ended their 2010 season in the quarterfinals with a loss to Loyola.