ELMHURST, Ill. – The Elmhurst football team dropped its 2017 season-opener, falling to Loras College 41-9 at Langhorst Field.
Loras scored the first 10 points and never looked back, building a 27-3 lead at the half before pulling away for the 41-9 win.
Elmhurst was done in by first half turnovers that let Loras' offense work with a short field. The Duhawks had just one scoring drive longer than 30 yards in the half.
The Duhawks grabbed a 7-0 lead on their first possession, driving 61 yards in 10 plays and going in front on a three-yard touchdown run from Cody Mighell. Loras took advantage of a short field late in the first quarter to extend their lead to 10. A 30-yard scoring drive was capped by a 27-yard field goal from Mason Quigley.
Elmhurst cracked the scoreboard early in the second quarter as the Bluejays drove 75 yards in just eight plays before settling for a 27-yard field goal from Blake Bailey.
The Duhawks took advantage of three turnovers in the quarter to open up a 24-point cushion before the half. An Orlando Hernandez pass ricocheted off an Elmhurst receiver and was picked off by Walter Ollie. The Duhawks set up shop at the Bluejays' 13-yard line and scored just four plays later on a one-yard plunge from Ike Cloward.
An 80-yard punt return from Jawan Gaines was wiped out by an illegal block and three plays later, Logan Sheppard intercepted a pass that bounced off the hands of a Bluejays' receiver. Cloward capped the 24-yard, four-play scoring drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to put the Duhawks in front 24-3.
Loras added a later field goal after Orlando Hernandez was sacked and stripped of the football. The Duhawks recovered the fumble and Quigley booted a 28-yard field goal just before the half to give Loras a 27-3 lead at the break.
The Duwaks scored on their first two possessions of the third quarter to open up a 41-3 cushion.
Elmhurst scored its only touchdown of the game later in the fourth quarter when Jake Tahaney connected on a 59-yard pass to Austin McKellar to make the final score 41-9
Loras outgained Elmhurst 348-286. Elmhurst totaled 101 yards on the ground and 185 through the air in the loss. The Duhawks rushed for 211 yards and passed for an additional 146 yards. The Bluejays also struggled with sustaining drives, converting just 3-of-14 third-down attempts.
Hernandez led Elmhurst on the ground with 64 yards on 12 carries. Through the air, he completed 14-of-29 passes for 115 yards. Tahaney completed 4-of-9 attempts for 70 yards and a touchdown. Matt Brachmann was the Bluejays' top target, catching seven passes for 42 yards.
Cloward paced Loras on the ground with 86 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. Bob Kelly completed 15-of-25 attempts for 115 yards and a touchdown.
Romain Richards let Elmhurst's defense in the loss with 11 tackles while Mike Dicken recorded nine stops.
Elmhurst (0-1) plays host to Olivet College next Saturday, September 9.