Loyola has huge must-win Mission League game against Alemany on tap for Friday

Loyola’s biggest game of the year is on tap this Friday at Smith Field as the Cubs host Alemany in a contest that most likely will eliminate the loser from CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoff consideration. An article on Sunday in the Los Angeles Times’ Varsity Times Insider projected that Loyola and Alemany of the Mission League and Servite of the Trinity League will be the three teams vying for the final two berths out of the 18-team super division in which 16 squads will be selected to participate in the playoffs. 

 For all intents and purposes, Friday’s game against Alemany will have all the earmarks and excitement of a playoff game. Win, and the Cubs have one more hurdle to overcome to earn a trip to the CIF Division 1 playoffs. Lose, and a trip to the postseason will probably not be in the cards. Loyola is 2-2 in the Mission League. If the Cubs win out they will be all but assured of no worse than a third place finish in league and an invitation to the most loaded CIF playoff tournament in Southern Section history. Last spring the Southern Section reconfigured the divisional playoff structure based upon competitive equity for the first time, making the Division 1 field a virtual who’s who in Southern Section football. Loyola had a bye this past weekend. Byes can effect a team positively or negatively. The Cubs are hoping the extra week of preparation will pay big dividends against the Warriors. 

 Serra, which defeated Crespi, 33-7, on Friday, is in the driver’s seat for the Mission League championship. The Cavaliers are 5-0 in league play with one game left against Alemany on November 4. Chaminade is in second place with a 3-1 record after beating Notre Dame, 31-14, on Friday. Bishop Amat, a 38-21 victor over Alemany on Friday, is currently in third place with a 3-2 record. The Lancers host Chaminade this Friday to close out their regular season. Loyola is tied for fourth place with Alemany. The Cubs and Warriors have identical 2-2 records. Crespi and Notre Dame are tied for sixth place, both with 0-4 records. Notre Dame hosts archrival Crespi this week, and the Knights travel to Loyola on November 4. Crespi concludes its league campaign at Chaminade on November 4. Both Crespi and Notre Dame are in Division 2.

 If the Cubs defeat Alemany and notch a victory against Notre Dame next week they should be a lock to make the playoffs. Should Bishop Amat upset Chaminade and Loyola wins out there could be a three-way tie for second place which could be decided by a coin flip. If the Cubs lost the flip and finished in fourth, a 5-5 record and the win over Amat would still probably be enough for a playoff invitation.

 The bottom line is Loyola must win its last two league games, both of which will be played at home. You don’t want to miss this Friday’s battle at Smith Field.

 A look at Alemany

First year head coach James Washington has the Warriors in attack mode. If his high-scoring offense continues its prolific production (35 points per game average) against the Cubs on Friday, Alemany may secure itself a berth in the loaded CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs which get underway in two weeks. But it might have to upset Serra in its loop finale to qualify The Warriors, going into last Friday’s contest with Bishop Amat, which they lost by a score of 38-21, were averaging a robust 433 yards of total offense per game. St. Francis transfer Miles Bryant had thrown for 1,304 yards at a 66% completion rate and tallied 12 TDs going into the game against the Lancers. The 6-1, 200 lb. senior quarterback is also a rushing threat, averaging nearly five yards per tote. 

 Alemany has its usual stable of excellent pass catchers. Senior wide receiver Warren Jackson, another transfer, is a match-up nightmare at 6-5, 196. The speedster had caught 41 passes for 673 yards and averaged 16.4 yards per reception through game seven. Senior Johnny Edwards (5-10, 180) possesses sprinter’s speed. Through the first seven contests Edwards had 27 receptions for 547 yards and nine TDs. He averages 20.3 yards per catch. 

 Converted quarterback Cayden Dunn (5-10, 200) is a one-man wrecking crew at running back. Dunn combines good speed with power. He entered the Amat game with 1,024 rushing yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Dunn had 13 rushing TDs to his credit through game seven. 

 Defensively, the Warriors bring the heat. The top tackler is senior outside linebacker Chris Ojoh (6-1, 215) who had 81 going into Friday’s game, including 46 solo stops. Senior linebacker Hector Palacios had 51 tackles through the first seven weeks. Precocious freshman outside linebacker Jim Deyoung is the squad’s third leading tackler. The Warriors are huge up front on both sides of the ball. Brendan Cotilla-Delgado (6-2, 315) and Massaman Ladji Bagayoko (6-6, 300) are college-sized behemoths. Their fellow lineman aren’t much smaller.


If the comparative scores in Alemany’s game against common opponents Santa Margarita and Chaminade are used as a predictors, things do not bode well for the Cubs. Loyola lost to Santa Margarita, 37-7, while the Warriors lost by a score of 48-35. The Cubs were blown out by Chaminade, 42-0, but Alemany played the Eagles tough before losing 28-14. Loyola rallied to defeat Crespi, 28-17, whereas the Warriors were nearly upset by the Celts before eking out a 13-11 victory. The Cubs shocked Bishop Amat 24-23 in La Puente, whereas Alemany lost to the Lancers by 17 points at home. Loyola needs to replicate Crespi’s game plan in keeping the Warriors from putting points on the board. The Cubs have to keep the ball out of the hands of Alemany’s high scoring offense to have a chance. 

 The series

Loyola and Alemany first met on the gridiron in 1968, the inaugural year of the old Del Rey League. The Cubs won a close game, 14-0. Since then, the teams have met 30 times, with Loyola holding a dominating 24-6-1 series edge. The Cubs secured victories in two out of the teams’ last three meetings. Last season, Loyola escaped with a 24-21 win in Mission Hills. In 2014, the Cubs lost a down-to-the-wire nail-biter by a point, 24-23. In 2013, Loyola shocked the highly ranked Warriors at their home field in Mission Hills by a score of 31-20. 

 Loyola has third most players from Southern California high schools playing collegiate football 

MaxPreps researched the number of players from Southern California high schools who are playing collegiate football, and announced on October 20 that the Cubs had the third most. Mater Dei topped the list, followed by Long Beach Poly. St. John Bosco was tied for third and Corona Centennial was in fifth place. What makes Loyola’s high ranking all the more remarkable is that its academic demands and admissions standards are exponentially higher than any other school on the list of 15 schools. See link below.


 Loyola top rated Catholic high school in Southern California, ranked second in state by Niche.com

Loyola is the top ranked Catholic high school in Southern California and the second-ranked Catholic college preparatory in the state according to Niche.com. Sacred Heart of Atherton came in first. Niche ranks schools based upon various factors including SAT/ACT scores, the quality of colleges that students consider, student-teacher ratios and student and parent reviews. It is noteworthy that the highest ranked school from the Mission League other than Loyola came in 25 spots behind Loyola at number 27. 

 Loyola clearly is extraordinary in combining excellent college preparation with successful placement in collegiate athletic programs. Loyola currently has 10 graduates playing football at Stanford, Cal, Washington, USC and UCLA of the Pac-12 Conference. It also has graduates playing football at Michigan, Brown, Princeton, Georgetown, Tufts and the University of Chicago, among other highly ranked colleges and universities. See the link below.