Football: Ramblers to let Ribordy loose
Loyola's Ryan Ribordy crosses the goal line in a game against St. Rita on Oct. 22, 2011, in Wilmette. Ribordy is slated to be the Ramblers' main running back this season. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
3 | Teams ranked in the Sun-Times’ preseason poll that are on Loyola’s football schedule this year, including No. 5 Mount Carmel, No. 10 Simeon and No. 11 St. Rita.
“Phenomenal athlete. I remember the game against Brother and their running back, and Luke is checking every gap and still makes the play outside. He has tremendous closing speed and long arms to make tackles.”
— Loyola coach John Holecek on safety Luke Ford.
SaturdayFootball: Simeon at Loyola, 1 p.m.
The Ramblers begin their march toward a return trip to the state title game against one of Chicago’s best teams from the Public League.
TuesdayGirls field hockey: Loyola at Lake Forest, 4:30 p.m.
Loyola gets an early test when it takes on the state’s runner-up from a year ago.
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:40AM
WILMETTE — Loyola quarterback Peter Pujals can’t wait to see what Ryan Ribordy will do once the battering-ram running back is allowed to go full speed ahead.
See, Ribordy is too bruising of a player to be let loose on the practice field. Nobody wants to see him hurt a teammate.
“Real strong dude,” Pujals said of his senior teammate. “I don’t think there are too many people who can tackle him.”
Ribordy is one of many new starters for the Ramblers, who went 13-1 last season and lost to Bolingbrook in the Class 8A state final. Loyola coach John Holecek likes what he’s seen from Ribordy so far this offseason.
“He’s going to be our main guy,” Holecek said. “Very strong and intense. He’s a downhill runner, and he’s going to make people pay for tackling him.”
While Ribordy will be a factor in the offense, the keys belong to Pujals, a senior who played backup and wide receiver each of the last two seasons.
“We are all still getting there,” Pujals said of the team’s preparation for Saturday’s home opener against Simeon. “We need another good week of practice to get ready. We will be fine.”
Injuries have haunted the Ramblers throughout the preseason. The number of players out or banged up reaches into double digits.
“We’ve been dealing with some issues,” said Holecek, who mentioned three tight ends and three cornerbacks recently have been out of action. “We’ve been battling some adversity. It’s been a constant thing for us. Our injury report looks like one from the NFL.”
But Holecek expects most everybody to be back for this weekend’s game against Simeon, the class of the Chicago Public League. The Wolverines have been to the state playoffs every season since 2001 and have won at least 10 games each of the last three years.
Defensive end Devante Lee, offensive lineman Kendall Moore, cornerback Aaron Banks and tight end John Gardner are all Division I prospects.
“Extremely talented team,” Holecek said. “They are loaded. We play these types of teams too much. The plan is to limit their talent and to win the turnover battle as well as the battle for field position.”