No. 18 Loyola drops Concordia, secures top-seed for MIAA B football postseason; Robinson rushes for 110 yards
by Derek Toney
After Loyola Blakefield lost its MIAA B Conference football opener to start the season, some wondered if the Dons were ready to compete in MIAA play.
There’s no question now. No. 18 Loyola Blakefield handled 14th-ranked Concordia Prep, 41-9, in the regular season B finale for both at Hargaden Field. Senior back Micah Robinson rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown for the Dons (7-2 overall), and Jaden Moore accounted for three scores.
The Towson school ran off 34 unanswered points to secure the top-seed for next weekend’s B postseason. Loyola will host Boys’ Latin School in a semifinal at Hargaden.
The Dons, St. Mary’s and Concordia (8-1 overall) each finished with identical 5-1 league marks. Loyola, which lost to St. Mary’s in the opener (17-14), needed to beat Concordia (which beat St. Mary’s, 23-17) by at least three points to win the MIAA football fourth tiebreaker.
“We played well in all phases. We try to be a team that doesn’t beat ourselves,” said Loyola coach Anthony Zehyoue. “It sounds kind of boring but we don’t beat ourselves. We really emphasized not turning the ball over and living to see another day.”
“We were basically playing for a second Senior Day,” said Robinson. “Our motivation was to get to play at home twice. As seniors, you want to play at home because you want to dominate on your home field.”
Robinson, one of 15 seniors honored Saturday, scored on a 12-yard touchdown run. Moore, a sophomore, threw a touchdown pass to senior Leo Twiss and junior Marcus Hines. Hines, a junior quarterback, added a scoring run.
After allowing a field goal on Concordia’s first drive, the Dons’ defense kept the Saints’ offense in check. Northwestern University-bound linebacker Anto Saka recovered a fumble and Erza Carter. Junior defensive end AJ Szymanski recorded two sacks, with brother Trevor and sophomore Jonas Kligys each adding a sack.
The effort was a far cry from Dons’ opener at St. Mary’s where Zehyoue said his squad missed 34 tackles.
“It’s one of those things kids couldn’t really dispute,” said Zehyoue. “We worked well as coaches and players to say ‘OK, these are our problems, let’s work together to fix them.’”
After Conor Becks pulled Loyola even at 3 with a 31-yard field goal, Carter fell on a Saint fumble on the next play from scrimmage. Hines followed a line surge into the end zone for a yard touchdown, capping a short 4-play 19-yard drive.
Moore took a “jet sweep” handoff from Hines, stopped, and threw downfield to an open Twiss who ran into the end zone for a 44-yard score, giving Loyola the lead for good with 7 minutes, 7 seconds left before halftime.
Loyola got the ball back at the Saints’ 31 after a high punt snap, and took advantage. Becks split the uprights from 25 yards as time expired in the first half.
Moore broke loose for a 34-yard touchdown to start the fourth. The Dons blocked a punt, and Robinson followed with his 12-yard score, making it 34-3.
Reserve quarterback Keshawn Mister connected with Jaylin Harcum for 42 yards in the fourth for Concordia’s lone score.
Saints coach Joe Battaglia said his team didn’t respond after getting down.
“We always talked about when things get chaotic, you resort back to your training, your technique and we didn’t do that,” said Battaglia. “We pressed a little bit, try to make too many plays and it spiraled out of control.”
Concordia was assured of at least the No. 2 seed going into Saturday. The Saints will host St. Mary’s in a semifinal Saturday afternoon.
The Dons will have Boys’ Latin, which they defeated 31-0, in week two. Loyola returned this fall as a MIAA football member after playing an independent schedule in 2018 and 2019.
Zehyoue is hoping to send his senior class out on a high note.
“When we were a bad program those guys had the opportunity to quit. Some people transferred but they stuck with us,” said Zehyoue. “I’m so proud and thankful for them.”
No. 18 Loyola Blakefield 41, No. 14 Concordia Prep 9
Concordia 3 0 0 6 – 9
Loyola 0 20 0 21 – 41
Concordia – Ryder Bentz 42 field goal
Loyola – Conor Becks 31 field goal
Loyola – Marcus Hines 1 run (Becks kick)
Loyola – Leo Twiss 44 pass from Jaden Moore (Becks kick)
Loyola – Becks 25 field goal
Loyola – Moore 34 run (Becks kick)
Loyola – Micah Robinson 12 run (Becks kick)
Concordia – Jaylin Harcum 42 pass from Keshawn Mister (run failed)
Loyola – Hines 31 pass from Moore (Becks kick)