The Gabriel Richard Fighting Irish knocked off visiting Detroit Loyola 28-7 on Friday afternoon to improve to 4-0 on the season and establish a clear path back to the state playoffs. Six wins earns a spot in postseason play and the Fighting Irish have put themselves in excellent position to take that big step.
The Bulldogs, who had won the last four games against the Fighting Irish, fall to 0-4 on the season.
The Fighting Irish were led by Chris Hill, who rushed for four touchdowns on the game as Richard went right at Loyola on the ground. The senior running back used his combination of speed and power to power the home team up and down the field behind an offensive line that was dominant most of the day.
Quarterback Micheal Engelhardt was solid running the offense and throwing on the rare occasions the Irish put the ball in the air.
The defense deserves plenty of credit for the victory. After shutting out Loyola in the first half, Richard’s defense made big plays especially after a turnover on their first offensive series of the second half.
A botched punt by visiting Loyola set up the Fighting Irish who took advantage with Hill’s first rushing TD of the game.
A nine-yard TD run right up the middle by Hill pushed the lead to 14-0 with 8:46 left in the second quarter.
Late in the first half, the Irish added to their lead. Hill rushed 13 yards for a score and a 21-0 lead with 1:20 left in the second quarter.
An interception on Richard’s first offensive series set up Loyola in the host’s half of the field. But the defense stood up and got the ball back on downs.
But Richard turned the ball over again on its next possession, this time on a fumble. And this time, the visitors cashed it in on a short run with 3:28 left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 21-7.
After the Richard offense was forced to punt, the defense again responded with a defensive stop with 8:55 left in the game.
The offense put the game away on the legs of Hill, who went 34 yards for his fourth TD of the day in the final minutes. Nick Brookins had an interception late in the game.
The Fighting Irish play Toledo (Ohio) Scott on Sept. 22. The Irish won last year’s match-up 32-0.