NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.
School: Loyola Academy
Head coach: John Holecek
Assistant coaches: Pete Devine, Beau Desherow, Tim Feldheim, Mike Dooley, Pete Distaulo, Tyler Vradenburg, Mike Kotowski, Ryan Gallagher and Pat Naughton
How they fared in 2018: 11-3 (2-2 Chicago Catholic Blue Conference). Loyola Academy made the Class 8A state playoff field and defeated Minooka, Oswego, Maine South and Lincoln-Way East They advanced to the state title game and defeated Brother Rice 13-3 at Champaign's Memorial Stadium.
2019 regular season schedule:
Aug. 31 vs St. Ignatius (Ohio) in Michigan City IN
Sept. 7 vs New Trier
Sept. 14 vs St. Rita
Sept. 20 @ Mount Carmel
Sept. 27 @ St. Ignatius
Oct. 5 vs Brother Rice
Oct. 12 vs Benet Academy
Oct. 18 @ Marian Central Catholic
Oct. 26 vs Marist
[MORE: 9 Days to Kickoff - Brother Rice]
Biggest storyline: Loyola Academy has made six trips to the state title game since 2011, with titles in 2015 and 2018. The key to another title will be if they can reload, especially on defense.
Names to watch this season: RB Trevor Cabanban (Sr.) and OL Christo Kelly (Sr., Holy Cross)
Biggest holes to fill: The Ramblers welcome back just one returning starter on defense-- senior DE Luke Desherow.
EDGY's Early Take: Head coach John Holecek might be coming off his best coaching year ever. The Ramblers hit a rough midseason patch, losing three of four games and needing to win out in the last two regular season games just to make the IHSA playoff field. From there, they rattled off seven straight wins and captured the school's second 8A state title in four years and their third overall IHSA football state title in school history (the other was in 1993). The 2019 Ramblers offense will be critical in setting the tone, especially in the early going. They bring back six returning starters. Senior RB Trevor Cabanban and senior RB Tyler Flores are proven, experienced options in the run game who will run behind three returning starters on the offensive line: senior Christo Kelly, junior Josh Kreutz and senior Peter Gianaris. Loyola will also feature several newcomers, including junior QB Perrion McClinton. Junior kicker Nate Van Zelst is already drawing recruiting attention. As mentioned, the defense will be young but the talent level in the underclassmen group is very high. Several of them will be asked to step big time up this season. Loyola Academy has remained one of the most consistent large enrollment programs to find ways to win. They've posted double-digit win totals every season since 2008. They have the pieces in place for another deep run to DeKalb this fall.