The Revenge Tour Continues; Ramblers best Hilltoppers 28-27

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The Revenge Tour Continues; Ramblers best Hilltoppers 28-27

Loyola’s Vaughn Pemberton (14) holds off Glenbard West’s defense

Loyola’s Vaughn Pemberton (14) holds off Glenbard West’s defense

Kirsten Stickney

Loyola’s Vaughn Pemberton (14) holds off Glenbard West’s defense

Kirsten Stickney

Kirsten Stickney

Loyola’s Vaughn Pemberton (14) holds off Glenbard West’s defense

Kevin Duffy, Writer

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It was a great day for Rambler football, as the second round of the IHSA Class 8A playoffs kicked off on Saturday, November 9 at Hoester Field with the Ramblers hosting the undefeated Glenbard West Hilltoppers.

After a 14-6 slugfest of a win at rival Maine South, the Ramblers looked to continue their title defense run at home against the 2nd seeded, undefeated, pride of Glynn Ellen.

Glenbard West had been nothing short of dominant in 2019. The Hilltoppers had won their last nine games by a combined score of 375-41, and many considered them to have been snubbed by only earning themselves a #2 seed in the 32-team tournament.

Despite being located on different ends of the Chicago area, the two had met in the postseason before. Back in 2016, Loyola defeated GBW in the semifinal round 42-13, enroute to a State Championship appearance. That was three years ago, when many of the starters on Loyola’s 2019 squad were still freshmen. This time around, GBW rolled into Wilmette with a 10-0 record, and fresh off a 48-2 pounding of Downers Grove South in their first round matchup.

The Hilltoppers looked just like their 10-0 selves early on, and took a 14-0 lead which was erased by the beginning of the 3rd quarter, with a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown by Adrian Brownlee.

GBW re-took a two score lead at 27-14, before the momentum completely swung in the other direction with an interception from Marty Auer with just under 6 minutes to play. Two late touchdowns allowed Loyola to steal a victory at home, behind the efforts of junior running back Vaughn Pemberton.

The junior put the team on his back, and had 91 rushing yards by halftime, and a late score by Pemberton sealed Loyola’s second straight win against a higher ranked Super 25 team.

Loyola’s title defense run, which some are dubbing the “Revenge Tour Part II” will continue at home against Marist next week.