Loyola looks to surprise under new leader - Coaching stability should no longer be an issue for Cubs

Longtime Loyola coach, teacher and administrator RICK PEDROARIAS '84 has taken over the reins of Cub Football.  With thirty years of dedicated, successful coaching experience at his alma mater it is likely his selection as the new leader of the program will provide long term coaching stability the school has not had since legendary head man STEVE GRADY retired after the 2004 season, following 29 seasons at the helm with an overall record of 269-77-6 and six CIF Southern Section Div. I championship game appearances. 

It remains to be seen if improved win-loss results will be achieved in Pedroarias' s first campaign as Loyola's new head mentor, but one thing is clear - a significant culture change is underway.   As a Grady disciple, it is virtual guarantee that Pedroarias's teams will be fundamentally sound, physical and disciplined in all phases of the game.

A LOOK AT THE 2017 CUBS

Strong core of senior leaders and tough juniors make Loyola a team with which to be reckoned

Senior standouts

All-purpose athlete JACOB McBRIDE (5-7, 170) (6.2 yards per carry) may not be big in the exponents department, but the returning all-league running back packs a powerful punch.  A tough-as-nails competitor, McBride will also see action at outside linebacker.  All-Mission League linebacker TOMMY VANIS (6-1, 210) is bigger, faster and stronger.  His talents will also be on display at the wide receiver position. No player will bring more passionate play to the squad than returning center TY MAHAR (6-1, 265).  A real brawler, Mahar will also see time on the defensive line.

First team All-Mission League corner ALEX JOHNSON (6-1, 165) possesses serious speed which was showcased on Loyola’s Mission League champion track & field squad this spring.  The exceptional athlete can also take the top off defenses as a wide receiver.  Talented receiver/outside linebacker DAKOTA SMITH (6-2, 209) is expected to have a banner campaign, as is slot/corner/nickel DEAMIL AGUILAR, JR. (5-8,155), a quick, fast and exceptionally elusive play maker.

Other seniors who will play pivotal roles are athletic offensive tackle/defensive end BRAYDEN UTLEY (6-3, 235), offensive guard WILL ANDERSON (6-0, 260), corner NATHAN BUSTOS (5-8, 155), tight end/long snapper JACK CASASANTE, Jr. (6-0, 205), guard/inside linebacker JACK FITZGERALD (6-0, 235) punter/kicker COLLIN FLINTOFT (6-1, 180), running back MICHAEL GRAVES (5-7, 170), inside linebacker JORDAN McMILLAN (6-11, 195), bull dozing nose guard TONY SANCHEZ (5-10, 315) and two-way lineman NICK YVANEZ (5-10, 245).

Junior stalwarts

A strong junior group who led the 2016 sophomore team to an 8-2 record includes wide receiver/ outside linebacker DAVID ANAWALT (6-0, 180), offensive lineman/outside linebacker MARCUS AGUILAR (6-0, 205), running back HUNTER BALLARD (5-10, 175) (rushed for over 1,100 yards for soph squad), kicker NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA (5-11, 170) (kicked a 50-yard field goal as a sophomore), sure-handed wide receiver/safety ALEX BLAKE (6-0, 190), physical inside linebacker CHASE BRANIGAN (5-9, 205), fast emerging offensive tackle EA’SUS JIMENEZ Y WEST (6-1, 250), tight end/ defensive lineman OSAZE ODIASE (6-0, 215), feisty nose guard COLE MILLER (5-8, 170) and strong armed quarterback NATHAN PRIESTLEY (6-4, 190).  Twins KAISER (6-0, 180) and SPEED FRY (6-1, 175) are back at Loyola after a year away and are expected to contribute at running back and safety, respectively.

Sophomore contributors

Sophomore KEVIN PARADA (6-0, 185) is a skilled wide receiver and safety.  SAMUEL DOMINGUEZ (6-2, 217) is another sophomore who will contribute up front defensively and is in the mix for playing time on the offensive line..

Freshman phenoms

Freshman quarterback MILLER MOSS (6-0, 175) possesses exceptionally precocious talent and field presence that belies his youth.  Moss is vying for the starting job behind center.  ZAKHARI SPEARS (6-2, 162) is another freshman with a tremendous skill set.

A combination of determined seniors and talented underclassmen are determined to not only demonstrate the profound effects of ongoing cultural change, but also to translate those changes into more victories than the pundits have predicted.