Cub Football - For second week in a row turnovers cost Loyola

Through seven games Loyola's 'Wolfpack' defense has relinquished just 77 points, but an additional 13 points have been racked up against the Cubs on two pick sixes. Unfortunately,  the second interception for a score came on the first play from scrimmage in Loyola's Mission League showdown with Gardena Serra before a large crowd at Smith Field on Friday night. The Cavaliers missed the extra point to claim a 6-0 lead just 14 seconds into the contest. 

From that point forward, Loyola outscored Serra, 10-7, and for the second consecutive week the Cub defense pitched a shut out after intermission. The 'Wolfpack' has allowed just 28 points in the second half over the span of seven games. The Cavaliers came into the contest averaging 37 points, but they could only score seven in four quarters against the 'Wolfpack'.

After the early interception, in a surprise move Loyola senior captain TOMMY VANIS was inserted at quarterback and acquitted himself very well at the position, both passing and running the ball. Vanis capped a long second quarter drive with a three-yard touchdown run to put the Cubs up, 7-6 after NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA's extra point kick. 

In one of its few breakdowns of the night, Loyola's stellar stop unit gave up a long distance run on a screen pass that set up Serra inside the Cubs' 10-yard line. The Cavaliers scored on a short run two plays later to put Serra ahead, 13-7.

On Loyola's ensuing possession, Vanis eluded the Cavalier rush and completed a well executed pass, which senior receiver ALEX JOHNSON took deep into Serra territory before fumbling as he tried to cut back through two defensive backs just two minutes before halftime.

The 'Wolfpack' continued playing shut down defense after intermission, but the Cub offense could only muster three points on a 26-yard NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA field goal late in the third stanza. Loyola mounted a late drive that ultimately sputtered, and the Cavaliers escaped with a 13-10 win that dropped the Cubs' Mission League record to 1-2 and overall slate to 4-3.  But for the "go-ahead" phantom fumble against Bishop Amat on September 29 and the pick six on Friday, Loyola likely would be 6-1 and undefeated in conference play.

So where do the Cubs go from here? On Friday they host league title favorite and state top ten-ranked Chaminade, which hung on for a 37-32 victory over Serra two weeks ago, and close out the regular season with road tilts against Crespi and Alemany, both of which are winnable games. The Big Blue has proved to be a team that can shut down opposing offenses. If the offense can get untracked Friday, the regular season could end on a very high note.

Loyola might be out of the race for the league championship after two heartbreaking losses, but it is still very much in the hunt for a CIF Southern Section Division I playoff berth. There are 18 teams in Dvision I, and 16 will receive playoff invitations.  The three schools that look to be vying for the sixteenth seed are Loyola (4-3), Vista Murrieta (1-5) and Alemany (2-5).

if you are a Cub Football fan you have to be immensely proud of grit and tenacity displayed by this team week after week. Anyone who is counting Loyola out does not have an understanding of the indomitable will of this determined squad.