1970 Football Team (2009)
It was the season of triumph and the season of heartbreak, of the rise to glory and of the bitter fall. Nearly forty years ago, the deep disappointment of that final game in Soldier Field was an open wound that would not heal, obscuring the magnificence of the journey that preceded it. And what a journey it was. The 1970 Football Team, tasked with the challenge of keeping alive an eleven-game victory streak begun by the undefeated 1969 team, proved itself more than up to the job. The 1970 Ramblers rose to the occasion, answering greatness with greatness while carving out a legacy of its own among the storied teams of Loyola gridiron history. The Ramblers of 1970 dominated the football landscape of Chicago and Illinois, reeling off eight straight wins while extending the Loyola consecutive victory streak to a record nineteen in a row. Under the guidance of Head Coach Bob Spoo (Hall of Fame, 1985), and a brilliant staffÑFrank Amato (Hall of Fame, 1990), Tom Powers (Hall of Fame, 1999), E.J. Doyle, and Bob KietaÑLoyola claimed the number-one ranking in the state early on and solidified its position as they steamrolled through the typically difficult Catholic League schedule. The Ramblers, led by co-captains Peter Burns and Tom Schnitzius along with All-Staters Tim Cerney (Hall of Fame, 2004) and Paul Pauluzzi (Hall of Fame, 2009), was a team without apparent weakness. Employing an explosive new wishbone offense, Loyola racked up 216 points in a balanced ground and air attack, averaging a glittering twenty-four points per game. Complimenting the offense was an aggressive, ball-hawking defense that allowed a stingy forty-eight points on the seasonÑa mere five points per game average. Resourceful, opportunistic special teams play formed the final piece in the puzzle. The Loyola juggernaut raced through the regular season, running up impressive early-season victories over Brother Rice (21-6), Mt. Carmel (33-0), Weber (34-6), and Hales (36-0). A pivotal mid-season game against highly-touted and undefeated Fenwick loomed next, with hopes for a shot at the Catholic League North title on the line. The game was over early, however, with halfback Tim Cerney returning the opening kickoff eighty-five yards to hush the stunned homecoming crowd. On Loyola's next two possessions, Cerney twice went the distance on long touchdown runs to secure the rout, 26-0. Loyola returned to Sachs Stadium with a homecoming blowout of St. Rita, 35-6, before taking to the road again for another critical North Section showdown, this time with undefeated Gordon Tech. In front of seven-thousand fans, Loyola prevailed in a tough defensive struggle, 16-7, to claim an undisputed North Section title. After a romp over DeLaSalle (42-14) in the regular season finale, all that remained was a rematch with South Section champion St. Rita, whom the Ramblers had crushed just weeks before. At stake were the Catholic League Championship, a berth in the Prep Bowl, a chance at a second straight undefeated season, and a place in history. It was not to be. A close game saw Loyola in control until quarterback Mark McAndrews went down with a broken leg, suddenly turning the tide as the Mustangs walked off with a 14-8 upset win to put an unceremonious end to the Ramblers' reign. Though denied in its bid to repeat the feats of the 1969 squad, the 1970 Football Team ended its run to the top with no small claim to greatness, adding eight wins to the best Rambler two-year record ever while bringing to a close arguably the finest back-to-back seasons in Loyola football history. Such a record of accomplishment is enough to ensure this team's place amid the pantheon of storied teams of Loyola Academy's proud century of gridiron glory.