by Ben Joravsky
I'm always ragging about the city's lack of commitment to public school sports - except, of course, almighty basketball -- so it's good to point out a little good news from today's prep bowl: Loyola Academy 17, Lane: 0.
Yeah, the public school lost -- for the third year in a row and the eighth time in this decade, for those keeping score.
But you have to appreciate what the public league is up against when it comes to football. Publis schools have less money than the privates to spend on facilities, equipments, coaches, trainers, etc. And of course, the Catholic schools have no residency requirements, meaning they can openly cherrypick the best eighth graders from all over the Chicago area. The public schools can only take kids who live in Chicago or are clever enough to devise a phony address in the city (just kidding -- sort of).
I always root for the underdog and in this case, Lane put up a great fight. They were only down eight at the half. And it was still very much a game in the fourth quarter.
In fact, the whole game pretty much came down to one play late in the third quarter. Losing 8 to 0, Lane had the ball inside the Loyola 40. It was fourth and about ten; instead of punting or trying a long-shot field goal, Lane went for the first down. Quarterback Luis Negron made one hell of a run, twisting, turning, diving for that first down. I thought he had it. But, alas, he fell less than an inch short.
Loyola took over on downs and marched down the field for the touchdown that put the game out of reach.
Oh, well, see you on the basketball court.