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The Flyers celebrate as Khalil Sumlin makes it into the end zone. (photo by Jacob Bernard)

Flyers win on a night to remember

It’s been 63 days since the Loyola Flyers last won a football game. It will be 63 years before they have another win like they won they got Friday night as Messmer Stadium.

Watch a game replay here!

Highlights:

  • (1:11:30) Townsend fumble return
  • (1:30:30) Windham touchdown reception
  • (2:25:30) Shepherd punt-and-run play
  • (2:44:21) Blocked punt, Sumlin touchdown

Incredible? That would be a good start in describing the Flyers 21-20 win over Woodlawn in a District 1-4A game.

This was game in which the Flyers got a first down on a punt that they kicked, recovered behind the line of scrimmage in mid-air and ran for a first down.

The winning touchdown was scored by a 260-pound nose tackle who had never carried the ball in his life. That came after the Flyers had fumbled into the end on the same drive that had been kept alive by the strange punt-but-we-keep-it first down.

But most of all for the Flyers, it was pure happiness.

“To see all that happiness after the game,” said Alan Carter after one of the craziest games in his longest coaching career, “is worth it all.”

It looked like the worst of the losses in the Flyers’ season was about to happen until sophomore Miles Mitchell – a defensive tackle – blocked a Woodlawn punt with his right hand with 34 seconds to play. The ball was batted around and suddenly found into the large hands of nose tackle Khalil Sumlin, who caught it in mid-stride and “raced” 12 yards into the end zone.

Sophomore Josh Hawboldt, who hadn’t missed an extra pointy all year, kept that streak alive and the Flyers, left for dead only a minute earlier, had the lead.

“I just saw the ball right in front of me,” Sumlin said. “So I grabbed it and took off.”

But the fun wasn’t over. After a squib kick and a 25-yard pass, Woodlawn was at the Loyola 20 with 22 seconds to play, but two incompletions and a fumble recovery by Rodney Rollins ended the game and set off a wild celebration.

“We have played well enough to win so many games this year,” Carter said. “But we just haven’t been able to finish games. The kids got down a little bit, but they hung in there. They really deserved this and I am so proud of them.”

The wild finish wasn’t the only time craziness happened in this game.

The Knights scored first on an 8-yard run by Jordan Davidson, but the Flyers took the lead on a 66-yard fumble return by Austin Townsend with 5:51 to play before halftime.

Woodlawn then drove down and scored on a fourth down play on a 16-yard pass from Treveion Youngblood to Wesley Riser, but just when it looked like the Flyers might head into the locker room down 14-7, Carter Windham caught an out-route from Bishop George and raced down the sideline for a 61-yard score to make it 14-14 with 26 seconds to go before halftime.

Woodlawn made it 20-14 on a 13-yard pass from Youngblood to Decory Webb with 7:46 to go in the third quarter, but missed the extra point. It didn’t look like it would matter as the Flyers kept fumbling chances away (five in the game), including one when they had first-and-goal at the 8 with less than three minutes to play.

But all that did was set the stage for a game that Loyola fans, and particularly Khalil Sumlin, won’t soon forget.

The Flyers are now 2-8 overall but will head to the Division II playoffs to meet E.D.White in Thibodaux Friday night at 7 p.m. 

FlyerFacts

  • Loyola had three players complete passes in a game for the first time since 1997.
  • This will be Loyola's 34th playoff appearance and 21st in the last 24 years.
  • The Flyers have never played E.D. White in football. The Cardinals are the No. 5 seed (the top four seeds get a bye) and are 7-3 overall. E.D. White plays in District 9-3A (Class 3A and 4A are combined for the Division II playoffs).
  • This is the fewest points the Flyers have scored in the regular season since 1995. That year, Loyola won its first round playoff game.
  • Not only does senior linebacker Rodney Rollins have more than twice as many tackles (125) as anyone else on the team, he also has two interceptions, two passes broken up, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and four blocked kicks. Rollins will become only the second Flyer to lead the team in tackles for three years in recorded school history. Tripp George, brother of current quarterback Bishop George, is the other.

 

LOYOLA COACHES SHOW


October 22, 2014

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