Loyola cruises past St. Rita

Junior Will Nimesheim, the Ramblers’ featured back this season, has an uncommonly patient running style.

Loyola’s Will Nimesheim (21) evades St. Rita’s defense.

Loyola’s Will Nimesheim (21) evades St. Rita’s defense.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

High school running backs are generally darters or bulldozers. Loyola had Vaughn Pemberton a couple of years ago and he was a combination of both, running past and through defenders.

Junior Will Nimesheim, the Ramblers’ featured back this season, has an uncommonly patient running style.

“I’ve played running back my whole life,” Nimesheim said. “My favorite running back is Le’Veon Bell and his running style is kind of patient. Dance around, find the hole and don’t rush. We work a lot in practice on our timing: slow, medium and fast. It’s not just go all the time. I’d rather have one good slower cut than one really fast, bad cut.”

Nimesheim ran for 60 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes, including an eight-yard touchdown, in No. 2 Loyola’s 34-14 victory at No. 13 St. Rita on Friday.

The game was nowhere near as close as the score indicates. Both teams played their backups for the majority of the second half.

The Ramblers (3-0) led 21-0 after the first quarter and 28-0 at halftime. St. Rita threw an interception on its first possession of the game and fumbled on its second. Both turnovers provided Loyola’s offense with excellent field position.

“We knew what to do and what our reads were,” defensive back Joe Auer, who pulled down the interception, said. “We tried to jump on them early. We know Rita’s a good team.”

Loyola quarterback Jake Stearney was 14-for-20 passing for 172 yards. He threw five touchdown passes and one interception.

“I’m happy about how we started,” Ramblers coach John Holecek said. “The first quarter was obviously excellent and Jake commanded the offense again pretty well. And we had some really good catches. But some drops. We have things to work on.”

Senior Quinn Foley had six catches for 82 yards. Spencer Leadbetter caught four passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns.

This was Loyola’s first road game. The Ramblers beat Cincinnati St. Xavier in Week 1 and United in Week 2. This is the third consecutive game where Loyola’s starters only played a half.

“We see on film all types of problems we can fix,” Holecek said. “We can always be better. We aren’t going to get complacent. We’re not going to let that happen.”

St. Rita quarterback Jett Hilding connected with Kenneth Davis on a 13-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. The Mustangs (1-2) were able to finish strong and avoid a blowout loss.

St. Rita lost to top-ranked Mount Carmel on the road in Week 1 and defeated Brother Rice last week.

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