With how poorly Detroit Loyola blocked in the first quarter Saturday, its five-game winning streak against host Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook looked in danger.
The Bulldogs (No. 1 in Division 7) regrouped following the quarter, led by inspiration from their seniors, then rode their rushing attack to a 30-3 win over the Cranes at Del Walden Field.
“We kind of took things for granted at the beginning, and it took a quarter to wake the kids up,” Loyola coach John Callahan said. “The seniors pretty much did the talking and were the ones who stepped up. I think it was the seniors who made the difference.”
The Bulldogs (7-1) set the tone by scoring twice on the ground in the second quarter.
First it was D’Anthony Robinson, who raced 27 yards down the near sideline for a TD.
Two plays after a Curtis Martin interception, quarterback Price Watkins went 36 yards for a score. Then Malcom Mayes got the two-point conversion, allowing the Bulldogs to enter halftime with a 14-3 lead.
“We just had to keep the faith in our line,” Mayes said. “We were having some problems early on.
“We went into halftime and talked to the coaches, and we really stepped it up. We just kept doing what we were doing hard, and all the faith goes to the line.”
Mayes opened the second half with a 64-yard rushing TD and another two-point run.
A 52-yard carry by Robinson set up Dvaun Bentley for a 4-yard TD on a toss to start the fourth quarter. Luther Robinson added two points on a toss as well.
Defensively for Loyola, Watkins leaped for a sideline interception in the third quarter. The Bulldogs forced the Cranes, who got past midfield only twice, to punt four times in the second half.
“We just play physical and do our assignments,” Mayes said. “We prep all week and just do our assignments.”
Said Callahan: “Cranbrook is the kind of team that presents a lot of problems because they run a lot of motion, and they try to take you out of position. I thought the coaches did an excellent job getting a game plan together because they can move the ball.”
Pierson Cooke’s 31-yard field goal were the points for the Cranes (6-2), who haven’t beaten Loyola since 1997.