By Dan McGrath

This was almost predictable, Leo’s 38-14 loss to DePaul Prep in a Catholic League Red Division matchup at DePaul Prep on Friday, Sept. 15.

The Lions were playing without injured quarterback Marshawn Durr, who had accounted for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns in Leo’s first three games, two of them victories.

They missed him all right, but sophomore Derrick Davis did  a commendable job filling in. 

 Leo’s defense and its inability to get off the field were a bigger problem as DePaul scored on its first possession, then added four more touchdowns plus a field goal. The Rams (2-2) cruised to a 24-point victory, much to the delight of their Homecoming crowd. 

“Not pleased with the effort or the execution,” Coach Marques Stevenson said after a second straight loss dropped Leo to 2-2. “We’ve got to be better.”

The Lions were in it for most of the first half, using touchdown runs by Davis (16 yards) and junior Javon Logan (8 yards) to stay within 17-14.

But for the second time in four games, Leo fell victim to the same trick play—a hook-and-ladder that covered 43 yards in the final seconds of the first half and gave the Rams a 24-14 lead at the intermission. 

 Titus Bautista was astonishingly open after taking a pitch from Michael Bloom, who’d caught Fernando Rodriguez’s pass on a short out route. The play seemed to demoralize the Lions, who failed to cross midfield in the second half, managing just two first downs and no points.

If the rout wasn’t on after Nick Martinez scored on an eight-yard run to cap the Rams’ first second-half possession, it surely was after Leo failed to cover the ensuing kickoff, enabling Rodriguez to score from a yard out three plays later.  

Rodriguez was a little too nifty for the Lions to contain, completing six of nine passes in the first half alone, for 144 yards and three touchdowns. Two of them went to junior wideout Braden Peevy, the son of DePaul University Athletics Director DeWayne Peevy.

Davis was 7-for-14 for 104 yards with one interception. He also ran six times for 27 yards. Two of his completions, for 50 yards, went to junior wideout Neil Anderson. Logan, competing to the final horn, carried 16 times for 88 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 44 yards.  

Next up for the Lions: St. Laurence, on Saturday, Sept. 23 at St Rita’s Doyle Field. The Vikings are 3-1 after an upset victory over Providence Catholic. The game carries special meaning for Stevenson, who was on St. Laurence’s coaching staff before taking over at Leo.

“We’ll be ready, I guarantee that,” he said.