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1963 Football Team (2000)

A mystique team, the 1963 Football Ramblers must take its proper place in any discussion of the greatest teams in Loyola's history. Only a thrilling one-point loss to the number one-ranked team in the country kept the 1963 team from a perfect season and a national championship. In the 1950's and early 1960's, Loyola football teetered on greatness. Then came young gun Len Jardine, his crack coaching staff - and the start of a gridiron resurgence in Wilmette. The year was 1963, when the expectations of summer begged the challenge of the fall. A hot September Sunday marked the opening of the '63 season. A disciplined, well-balanced attack, led by fullback John Kading, crushed Leo, the team which had bounced Loyola from the previous year's playoffs, 35-6. The following weeks brought consecutive wins over Brother Rice and DePaul before the Ramblers would travel to St. Philip. The feisty Gaels played the Ramblers to a standstill until a touchdown scamper by halfback Phil Collins secured the victory, 14-8. Consecutive follow-up shutouts against Weber (14-0) and Gordon Tech (49-0) set the stage for a battle of undefeated teams, archrivals Loyola and Fenwick, and a battle of the two Jardine brothers who coached the two squads. A crowd of 10,000 jammed Sachs Stadium to see Loyola gain its third straight shutout victory, 19-0. In the regular season finale against Holy Trinity, the Tigers proved no match (41-8) for a Rambler team primed to tackle Mt. Carmel at Soldier Field in the Catholic League semi-finals. Loyola dominated 26-0, leaving only vaunted St. Rita, the A.P. number one team in the country, in its path to an undefeated championship season. The game was one of high drama from the opening kickoff. Leading 15-8 on Bob Corby and Kading touchdowns and dominating the statistics, the Ramblers fell victim to a sixty-yard pass play and subsequent two-point conversion late in the game to lose in a thriller, 16-15, to a team averaging 41+ points a game. The Ramblers' loss, however, did little, if anything, to diminish a superlative season. Finishing as North Section champs and with an overall 9-1 record, the Ramblers had gained a Catholic League title game for the first time since 1947. They had scored 253 points against 44 allowed - the second largest differential next to the school's undefeated 1969 team. Bob Corby and Bob Weskamp fashinoned All-State honors as did Co-captain Steve Quinn, who likewise captured the coveted Skoglund Award for academic/athletic excellence. Corby, Weskamp, and Quinn were joined by Co-captain Kevin Rassas, Dave Stydahar, and John Kading on the All-City team. Nine of the team's players went on to collegiate careers (eight of them at Division I schools). And before he would eventually leave to coach Brown University, Len Jardine would call his 1963 charges "the best team I ever coached."

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