Maine South (Park Ridge) upset No. 20 Loyola Academy (Wilmette), 27-17, in the Illinois 8A state championship game Saturday night in Champaign.
The victory gave Maine South its sixth state title in school history and the fourth under current coach Dave Inserra, with the previous three coming consecutively in 2008, ’09 and ’10.
The loss snapped defending 8A champion Loyola’s 30-game winning streak.
Maine South quarterback Nick Leongas was responsible for three touchdowns, one passing and two rushing, and finished with 200 yards in total offense.
He also was responsible for the turning point in the game. Loyola had led 14-10 at halftime, but Leongas hit Luke Hinkamp for a 20-yard touchdown on a third-and-9 play with 8:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Maine South (10-3) never trailed the rest of the game and scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
After a huge 66-yard punt by Sean McNulty early in the fourth quarter, a Loyola fumble was recovered at the Ramblers’ 17, and Leongas scored on the next play. On its next possession, Maine South maneuvered through a 12-play, 66-yard drive that took up nearly five minutes of the clock. McNulty hit an 18-yard field goal to push the Hawks lead to 10 and wrap up the state title for Maine South.
The regular season loss was the only blueprint the Hawks needed.
“That was it, that’s all we needed. It inspired us,” Maine South coach David Inserra said. “All the motivation, all the homework, all the preparation, we did it to give ourselves a chance to win tonight.”
Maine South running back Fotis Kokosioulis ran for 106 yards on 18 carries.
Defensively, Maine South controlled Jake Marwede, the Duke commit and Under Armour All-American. A combination pass catcher and H-back, Marwede had one catch for 25 yards and 16 yards on the ground on eight carries.
Loyola running back Kyle Rock ran for 155 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Tommy Herion threw for 159 yards.
Contributing: Associated Press