Loyola Academy Football Headed To State Championship To Defend Title

WILMETTE, IL — Loyola Academy is set to defend its Class 8A state title after coming from behind to earn a 23-14 victory over York High School in last weekend’s semifinal.

Under first-year coach Beau Desherow, the Loyola Ramblers (13-0) are readying for a championship rematch against Lincoln-Way East Saturday at Illinois State University’s Hancock Stadium.

In a game that tested the Ramblers’ resilience, junior quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald played a pivotal role in overturning a 14-3 second-quarter deficit, the biggest the team has faced during its undefeated campaign.

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Fitzgerald, who was not a part of the 2022 team, ran for two touchdowns and threw a 40-yard reception to Nicholas Arogundade for a third.

Desherow, who succeeded former Loyola head coach John Holecek in March, told Shaw Local that York was a very talented and well-coached team.

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“One thing that really stood out to me,” Desherow said, “they have some very explosive players.”

Looking ahead to the state championship, Loyola faces a familiar foe in the Lincoln-Way East Griffins, who are also undefeated so this season.

In 2022, the Ramblers secured the state title with a 13-3 victory over the Griffins. This Saturday marks an opportunity for Loyola to win the first back-to-back state titles in program history.

Tickets to the 2023 Class 8A IHSA high school football championship will be available for sale for $15, cash only, at Loyola Academy from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday and from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, or at the stadium on game day for the same price. All seats are general admission and tickets are valid for all four championship games Saturday.

Where to watch Loyola vs Lincoln-Way East?

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Weigel Broadcasting will be televising all IHSA high school state football championship games live from Normal.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on CW26, or WCIU, which can be found on channel 26.1, XFINITY channel 183/1026, Astound TV 6, Dish 26, DirecTV 26, Spectrum Charter 22/616, U-Verse 10/1010, Hulu + Live TV or on YouTube TV by searching for CW26.

Broadcast team members include Dave Bernhard, Chris Highland, Mark Lindo, Jack McInerney and Matt Rodewald, along with Kacy Standohar reporting from the sidelines.

Earlier: Illinois High School Football Playoff Brackets, Schedule Unveiled

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