1991 Football Team (2010)
There are many followers of Loyola Rambler football who argue that the 1991 team was the greatest team in Academy gridiron history, that it represented the greatest assemblage of talent to wear the maroon and gold. Others say the same of the 1990 team. These arguments will not be settled here. What is inarguable is that these two teams mark a turning point, forming the first half of a quartet of teams that rival those of any period in the proud history of Loyola football. With the memory of a remarkable 10-3 record and a state semi-final berth still fresh in the minds of the many returning players, the 1991 Football Ramblers were hungry for an undefeated season and a state title, and they knew what it would take to achieve it. Head Coach John Hoerster (Hall of Fame, 2004) and his staff Ð Paul Maggiore, Ed Flynn, Hobie Murnane (Hall of Fame, 2008), Scott Baum, Tim Feldheim, and Fred Proesel Ð assembled the pieces and the plan of attack. Led by senior captains Peter Patton (Hall of Fame, 1992), Jamie Baisley (Hall of Fame, 2003), and Mark Matelski, the Ramblers rolled through a 9-0 regular season in impressive fashion, and then rolled over the first three playoff opponents. A stalwart defense that allowed a mere 81 points in twelve games defined this Rambler team. Even on those rare occasions when the offense sputtered, the defense never wavered. Fortunately, the offense seldom sputtered, averaging 25 points per game. The Ramblers ran the ball with great efficiency, averaging almost six yards per attempt for the season. In short, the 1991 team was a team of tremendous balance, anchored by a stout defense, yet more than capable of churning out points and controlling the clock. This was a classic Hoerster team Ð a tremendous defense, a strong ground game, and a disciplined, ruthlessly efficient and physical approach to playing the game. With a record of 12-0, a number one ranking in the polls, and a listing among the top 30 teams in the nation, the state title seemed closer than ever. Only Glenbard North stood in the way of a state finals match-up. It wasnÕt to be. Too many breakdowns on both sides of the ball led to a close but nonetheless crushing defeat, 13-6. The state title proved as elusive as ever, and to a man, the players felt that they had let slip away something that they already possessed a little part of. Loyola players dominated the All-League teams. Peter Patton, Joe Dibella, Steve Misetic, Bill Reardon, and Tom Sylvester were named First Team Offense. Jamie Baisley, Jim Carroll, Liam Gilhooly, Mark Matelski, and Mike Seitzinger were named First Team Defense. Kicker Chris Griesmayer joined punter Peter Patton on the special Teams. On the Second Team Offense were Andy Carolan, Kevin Correa, and Ryan Gallagher, while on the Second Team Defense were Dan Bansley, Matt Byrne, Tom Craddock, and Jim OÕConnor (Hall of Fame, 1993). Peter Patton was selected winner of the Lawless Award for the top player in the Catholic League, and John Hoerster was named CCL Coach of the Year. The Chicago Suburban Times named Dibella, Misetic, Patton, and Reardon First Team Offense, and Baisley, Gilhooley, Matelski, and Seitzinger First Team Defense. Sylvester, Bansley, and Carroll made Second Team. Finally, the Chicago Tribune selected Jamie Baisley and Steve Misetic to its All-State team and Peter Patton to its All-Area team. Patton also made the Sun-Times All-Area team. Though a season of great promise had ended in sadness and a sense of missed opportunity, time allows a clearer perspective. The 1991 Football team, like the 1990 team they followed, belongs in any discussion and in any ranking of the all-time Loyola teams. The only period in LoyolaÕs history that rivals the early 90Õs for greatness is the period from 1962 to 1970. Inarguably, the 1991 team belongs in the pantheon of the best ever.