The forecast for today’s showdown against #1 Loyola Academy is now down to 39 degrees with wind coming out of the WNW at 23 mph and gusting up to 35 mph. So if you’re thinking maybe staying at home sounds nicer than freezing your face off, you are not alone. If you don’t make it to Duchon, here’s a link to the live stream with Bobby Luginbill on the call. The game is also on CSN, but Bobby will be more fun to listen to.
As for the actual game itself, there is still no indication whether or not Loyola senior quarterback Tommy Herion will play after suffering concussion-like symptoms in last week’s game. A potential fill-in at quarterback for the Ramblers is Jake Marwede, a 6-4, 250-pound wide receiver who played quarterback up until this season. If Herion does not suit up at quarterback it may make Loyola more one dimensional on offense, and easier for the West defense to attack.
Both teams boast prideful defensive units, and West’s ability to establish the run is going to be paramount if they are going to be running up the hill after the game and ringing the victory bell. Glenbard has done an excellent job during the postseason of executing the play-action pass, and that doesn’t work unless the run game is consistently picking up yardage. Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, Loyola has potentially the best group of linebackers in the state, and this game may come down to how well West can execute their run and play-action game against the Loyola LB’s.
When Loyola has the ball they will be looking first to senior wide receiver David Terrell, Jr. the son of former Bears bust 8th overall pick in the 2001 draft. If WR/TE Jake Marwede is forced to stay under center at QB that will take away one weapon through the air for Loyola. However, Marwede has continued to operate in the Wildcat formation this season, and will pose a challenge from that standpoint alone.
While West is likely going to face the best offense and defense they’ve seen all year, the combination of home-field advantage, the weather, and Loyola’s shaky quarterback situation may tip the scales in Glenbard’s favor. It’s safe to say though, that trying to predict what will happen is a fool’s errand, and that unpredictability makes this game that much more exciting to watch.