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Huge first quarter lifts No. 3 Missoula Loyola over Malta in Class B football

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Sep 16, 2023

FAIRFIELD — In their first match up since the opening round of the 2017 playoffs, Missoula Loyola defeated Malta 34-20 in a neutral-site Class B game Saturday to improve to 4-0.

It didn’t take long for the No. 3-ranked Rams to get on the board. Aiden Round fired a short pass to Ethan Stack and let him do the rest as he turned it into a 56-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game.

On Loyola's next drive, running back Talen Reynolds found a gap in the defense and took the hand off 36 yards to put the Rams ahead 14-0 midway through the first frame.

Malta followed up with a strong drive, resulting in a would-be touchdown but it was called back due to an offensive holding. The Rams' defense would then hold strong, coming up with a sack on fourth down and taking over deep inside their own territory.

After displaying a strong ground game to get up the field, Jack Clevenger looked deep down the left sideline and hooked up with Malik Lyttle for Loyola’s third touchdown of 30 or more yards in the opening quarter. The Rams would add another score later in the second quarter as Round hit Taylor Jones for a 32-yard score, giving them a 27-0 lead at the half.

The Mustangs began a second-half comeback, outscoring the Rams 20-7 in the final two quarters, but eventually ran out of time.