By Dan McGrath

The five teams responsible for the five-game losing streak Leo lugged into Saturday’s Catholic League crossover meeting with St. Francis have a combined 21-19 record. 

So the Wheaton-based Spartans represented a step up in class for the Lions. The 5-2 mark St. Francis brought to St. Rita’s Cronin Field featured victories over playoff-bound St. Rita, St. Laurence and Joliet Catholic.

The Spartans quickly improved to 6-2 and threw cold water on Leo’s Senior Night festivities, scoring on their first four possessions and rolling to a 42-6 victory.

Quarterback Alessio Milivojevic showed what all the “D-I prospect” fuss was about, completing 12 of 21 passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns. The Leo parents honored on Senior Night had barely returned to their seats before Milivojevic moved the Spartans 61 yards in four plays on their first series, going 4-for-4 and capping the drive with a 31-yard TD strike to Ian Willis.

Throwing tight spirals with deft touch and hitting his receivers in stride,  Milivojevic would find Willis again for an 11-yard score, younger brother Dario Milivojevic for a 27-yard TD and Zachary Washington with a 41-yard bomb before calling it a night early in the third quarter. The Spartans led 35-0, and a running clock was an inevitability. 

Milivojevic wasn’t perfect—he was sacked once and he threw an interception, to Leo’s Ryan Cunningham. In eight games he has completed more than 73 percent of his passes for 2,075 yards and 23 touchdowns, with just four interceptions.

Impressive as he was, St. Francis is not a one-man band. TyVonn Ransom shredded the Lions for 148 yards on 15 carries, adding a fifth touchdown on an 8-yard run. And the Spartans seemed to be playing with 15 defenders at times, so adept were they at figuring out what the Lions were up to on offense and flying around to stop it.   

Leo finally scored in the fourth quarter on sophomore Derrick Davis’ 3-yard TD scamper, after he’d set it up with 33- and 31-yard completions to junior wideout Neil Anderson. A 22-yard Davis-to-Javon Logan hookup was the Lions’ biggest play of a scoreless first half.

It’s a short wrap-up week for the Lions (1-7); they’ll end the season at Marian Catholic (3-5) on Thursday, Oct. 19. Seniors David Gamble, Joshua Burke, Deon Edmonds Jr., Lawrence Lee, Kam’ron Colbert, Keshawn Colbert, Harlem Adams, Ama’n Swain, Garry Brown, Dennis Jones and Theauntae Jones will be playing their final game; Leo thanks them for their contributions.