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Loyola Beats Hart on Ware's Second Effort

High school football: Indians lead, 16-3, at halftime, but quarterback leads Cubs' comeback in 24-16 victory.


GLENDALE — There was a desperate plea made by Hart High assistant football coach Dean Herrington on Saturday night when Matt Ware of Loyola began to twist and turn, stop and go, juke and dive.

"Jump on his back if you have to," Herrington shouted to the Indians' defensive players.

Ware, a UCLA-bound senior, almost single-handedly rallied the Cubs to a 24-16 victory over Hart at Glendale High.

"Loyola didn't beat us, Matt Ware beat us," Coach Mike Herrington said. "He was a one-man wrecking crew."

Ware rushed for 117 yards in 15 carries, passed for 75 yards, made an interception and simply refused to let his team lay down after trailing, 16-3, at halftime.

It was almost an identical comeback performance to a game last season against Alemany, when Ware helped the Cubs overcome a 21-0 halftime deficit to win, 26-21.

"This one beats the Alemany comeback by a whole lot," Ware said.

Loyola (5-0) was making little progress toward overtaking the Indians (3-2) until Ware took control late in the third quarter. He completed a 33-yard pass to Greg Kavulich on third down, then ran 43 yards for a touchdown with 3:02 left, pulling the Cubs to within 16-10.

Loyola got the ball back with 11:46 to play, and Ware started running left, right, up the middle, anywhere and everywhere.

He guided the Cubs on an 80-yard, 13-play drive. There were runs of 22, 13 and nine yards. Hart players were exhausted chasing him. When Rafael Rice scored on a one-yard run with 5:27 left and Nathan Dukes added the conversion kick, Loyola had the lead for good, 17-16.

"We came out and pounded them," Ware said of the Cubs' offensive line.

Hart had an opportunity to put together a final drive, but Kyle Matter's fourth-down pass was intercepted by Ware and returned 44 yards to the Hart 10 with 3:35 left. Rice scored again from the one.

"This is a great comeback against a quality team," Coach Steve Grady of Loyola said.

Hart scored all its points in the second quarter, taking a 6-3 lead on Keith Howell's eight-yard touchdown reception on which the official ruled he made the diving catch in the end zone before he went out of bounds.

Josh Christensen's interception on the Loyola 24 gave the Indians another scoring opportunity. Matter quickly connected with Robert Mercado for a 24-yard touchdown.

Safety Matt Moore contributed another interception with 1:45 left before halftime, setting up Josh Cummings' 37-yard field goal.

The Indians held Loyola to 56 yards in the first half. But once Ware got loose, there was no answer for his speed and instincts. It was as if he had wings the way he'd elude and slip away from tacklers.

Matter completed 20 of 34 passes for 198 yards and was sacked five times. In the second quarter, he was struck so violently by unblocked linebacker Gio Seretti on a blindside hit that it looked as if he'd be knocked out. But he quickly got up and led the Indians on an 80-yard, 16-play scoring drive.

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