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Kickoff Return Helps Loyola Win, 31-14


Loyola High, The Times' top-ranked team, found its lofty ranking in jeopardy on Friday night midway through the fourth quarter of a 31-14 victory at La Canada St. Francis before 4,000.

But Cub defensive back Kadar Hamilton returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to give Loyola (3-0) a 24-14 lead and clinch the nonleague win over the resurgent Golden Knights (2-1).

"I thought we played a damn good football team pretty much even up," said first-year St. Francis Coach Bill Redell. "I think we've improved a lot, there's no question about it. The game was a lot closer than the final score."

The Golden Knights were 3-6 last season and they lost to Loyola, 42-0.

Loyola Coach Steve Grady thought the tighter margin of victory Friday was due to his team's four turnovers and 11 penalties.

"I think we dominated the game," Grady said. "They're well-coached, but I thought we beat them and I'm disappointed we didn't put them away."

Hamilton did his best to deliver the knockout blow with 5:04 to play.

His long return came immediately after a 76-yard touchdown reception by St. Francis wide receiver Justin Vandercook from quarterback Luke Barrett trimmed the Cubs' lead to 17-14.

After Hamilton restored the Cubs' breathing room, teammate Blake Hennon closed the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds to play.

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