Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010
By Matt Harness
Jimmy Frankos called Saturday's 29-22 win over Loyola in Wilmette the best game he's ever played in.
It's not hard to believe him after the Hawks scored 16 points in the game's final 2:43 to come from behind to beat the Ramblers and earn the Park Ridge program's third consecutive trip to the Class 8A championship game.
"We stuck with it," said the junior, who kicked three field goals. "That's probably the best game in Maine South history."
After sophomore quarterback Matt Alviti scored on a three-yard run to get Maine South within 22-19, junior linebacker Tyler Fahey recovered Spencer Perry's fumble in the end zone on Loyola's first play of the next series.
Loyola junior quarterback Malcolm Weaver, whose 64-yard touchdown run with 5:09 seemingly put the game out of reach at 22-13, then fumbled the ball away on a sack. The Ramblers turned the ball over four times in the second half that resulted in 13 points.
Frankos followed Weaver's turnover with a career-long 43-yard field goal. But the Ramblers, who trailed 10-0 in the first half, weren't finished, either.
Peter Pujals, in for an injured Weaver, marched Loyola all the way to the five-yard line. The game ended when Connor Klein leaped over the line to swat down Pujals' final pass.
"I'm still in shock," said Klein, who started on last season's title team. "Nobody hung their heads when we were down. We just came up big in the end. It was awesome."
Maine South coach Dave Inserra admitted some nervousness when Loyola got a two-point conversion to put the Ramblers up two scores at 22-13. "Being down nine there was a little scary," he said.
Maine South (11-2) went up 13-7 midway through the third quarter on Frankos' 33-yard field goal.
But Weaver, who ran nine times for 78 yards, willed the Ramblers (11-2) to the lead with two scores in the fourth quarter. He left the game for good with a leg injury after his fumble. Weaver struggled against Maine South's secondary, finishing 5-for-21 for 42 yards and two interceptions.
Perry carried the ball 20 times for 72 yards. His longest run of the afternoon was nine yards.
Alviti didn't have his best game, but he performed when it mattered most. He went 18-for-42 for 242 yards. Scott Derrick caught eight passes for 152 yards.
"I too pumped up to think," said junior running back Paul Preston, who only rushed 12 times for 20 yards. He scored the game's first points.
"That was a great turnaround. It shows our heart."