Forgettable Friday in West Hills puts Cubs in ‘must win’ mode

Katy forgot to bar the door, the dam burst, the avalanche came with deadly speed, and the tsunami swamped all that was in its path. With lethal swiftness in West Hills Friday night the Chaminade Eagles soared from the opening kickoff to the final gun in administering a 42-0 beat down of Loyola in a game that for all intents and purposes was not as close as the final score. Only a kneel down by the second unit Chaminade offense deep in Cub territory in the final minute of the fourth quarter prevented the loss from exceeding the worst in Cub Football annals.
 By the five minute mark of the second quarter, the Eagles held a 35-0 lead. Chaminade took advantage of four Loyola turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) in the early going to propel the onslaught. A quick, active Eagle defensive unit kept the Cub offense in check all night. The shutout defeat was Loyola’s first in eight seasons and one of only three in the last 27 campaigns. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Everything the Cubs needed to do they didn’t, and that started with the inability to contain Chaminade running back T. J. Pledger who took a handoff 47 yards for a TD on his first carry and finished the evening with 185 yards on just 15 carries. It is well known that teams that run the ball successfully and stop the run win the majority of the time. The Eagles excelled in both categories as they rolled up 285 rushing yards and held Loyola’s run game at bay.
 Bottom line, the Cubs need to put the ignominious loss in the rear view mirror fast, pick up the pieces and circle the wagons as they prepare for a dangerous Crespi team that will visit Smith Field on Friday. Despite the lopsided loss, Loyola still has a chance to make the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs if it runs the table in its final three Mission League games, beginning with Crespi on Friday and followed by Alemany on October 28 and Notre Dame on November 4. Again, the squad’s resiliency and reaction to adversity will be tested.


 Loyola sophs stand strong against Chaminade, played with great physicality in 31-14 win
There are a few old timers who remember the consistently violent play of Loyola’s inside linebackers during the last three decades of the 20th Century and the first few years of the new millennium. The play of sophomore inside linebackers MARCUS AGUILAR and CHASE BRANIGAN harkens back to a bygone era when the Cub linebacker corps was feared - and highly respected - throughout the Southern Section and rightfully accorded legendary status. 
On Thursday at Hank Hernandez Memorial Field the ferocious duo of Branigan and Aguilar made tackle after tackle with bone jarring intensity, including multiple sacks and tackles for loss. Their stunts and blitzes also forced Chaminade’s offensive front to move early more than a few times, forcing the Eagles into poor field position. Much of the credit for the unbridled fury with which the soph linebackers ply their trade goes to head coach and defensive coordinator RIC FLORES whose coaching career began at Loyola in 1973. The toughness of the linebackers under Flores’ tutelage is contagious. One of the biggest hits in the Cubs’ decisive 31-14 victory over Chaminade was made by safety ALEX BLAKE, another player whose style of play is reminiscent of some of the hard hitting Cub safety work of the past.
Loyola improved its record to 5-2 and 2-1 in the Mission League with the win on Thursday. The Cub alumni influence is readily apparent with offensive coordinator P.J. PASCALE ’78 and wide receivers/defensive backs coach GIFFORD IRVINE ‘82 coaching up their charges to compete with an edge. One of the program’s best and most unsung coaches is FERNIE HERNANDEZ, the tutor of the defensive line and running backs. His dedication to the program spans four decades, and his demands to play physical football is reaping rewards on the sophomore level. 
Among the big moments in the rout of the Eagles was the 50-yard field goal of NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA (the brother of former Loyola star ANTHONY BARR, now an All-Pro with the Minnesota Vikings), two touchdown passes by much improved quarterback DANIEL HAYES, TD receptions by Blake and DAVID ANAWALT, the hard running of HUNTER BALLARD and an incredible multiple broken-tackle run to pay dirt by JACK CAROLAN in the final minute of the contest. Defensive linemen COLE MILLER and JACOB RUANO also played in high gear, making multiple tackles for no gain in shutting down Chaminade’s run game.


 Loyola freshmen rout Chaminade 42-21
Sparked by a monster rushing game on the part of tailback KEVIN PARADA and the accurate passing of DAVIS WARREN, the Cub freshman routed Chaminade on Friday in West Hills by a score of 42-21. The final Eagle TD was scored on the Loyola reserves late in a contest dominated by the Cubs.