Cub Football - Loyola shuts down Crespi - Bye week precedes Mission League finale - Playoff aspirations still alive

Loyola defeats Crespi, 17-0, with another dominant defensive showing
On a windy night in Encino last Friday Loyola's 'Wolfpack' defense once again created thunder in the box, shutting out a Crespi team that had hung 24 points on league co-leader Bishop Amat the previous week. It was the first time the Celts have been blanked this season.

The shut out performance, won by the Cubs, 17-0, was the second of the season. Through nine games, Loyola has relinquished just 127 points (14 points per game), and 14 of those points were scored against the Cub offense on pick sixes. It is the fewest points allowed by Loyola after nine games in 14 seasons. The defense has given up just 113 points (12.6 per outing).

Leading the 'Wolfpack' rampage were senior inside linebacker JACK FITZGERALD and senior outside linebacker JACOB McBRIDE, each of whom made 11 tackles. Senior All-Mission League corner ALEX JOHNSON, who was just offered a scholarship by the University of Montana, broke up four passes. Senior inside linebacker JORDAN McMILLAN, junior free safety ALEX BLAKE and sophomore strong safety KEVIN PARADA each recorded seven tackles. The defensive effort was assisted by senior COLLIN FLINTOFT, who had two of his soaring punts downed inside the Celts' five yard line.

Loyola started the contest with a furious flourish as senior quarterback and team captain TOMMY VANIS raced 56 yards for a touchdown early in the first stanza on an option play. Shortly thereafter, Blake intercepted a Crespi pass at midfield, but the Cubs, hampered by penalties, were unable to score. What looked like a promising offensive outing for Loyola early on evolved into a ground and pound effort. The windy conditions were not conducive to an effective passing game. Senior running running back and team captain DAKOTA SMITH ran hard all night for the Cubs, gaining 110 yards and scoring the team's second TD. Vanis contributed 106 yards on the ground and tallied a rushing touchdown. Junior NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA nailed a 38-yard field goal- his fifth in six tries - in the second quarter to put Loyola up 10-0 at halftime.

The Cubs improved to 5-4 overall, and 2-3 in league. The Big Blue has a bye this week as they played their first game in zero week.  The regular season concludes on Friday, November 3, in Mission Hills against Alemany, which was throttled by co-league leader Chaminade, 45-0, on Friday.

Playoff hopes still alive
Servite defeated Orange Lutheran, 29-28, on a last second field goal in a thrilling Trinity League game on Friday at Orange Coast College. The Lancers, now 0-3 in conference, play the state's top-ranked team, Mater Dei, at Santa Ana Stadium on Friday as prohibitive underdogs, and close out Trinity competition against Santa Margarita Catholic (5-3, 1-2) on the road on November 3. The Eagles lost by two, 40-38, to St. John Bosco, on Friday, and will be be favored against Orange Lutheran in the finale. 

If the Lancers end the season 0-5 in league and with an overall 5-5 slate, and if Loyola defeats Alemany to finish 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Mission League, the CIF playoff selection committee would have a difficult time justifying taking Orange Lutheran, as a sixth place finisher with no league wins, over the Cubs. There are many who believe Loyola has a shot to make the Division I playoff field if the above scenario plays out.