Cub Football - Loyola trending up at all levels - Saturday's scrimmage recaps

Cub varsity looks solid in scrimmage
A large crowd got a good glimpse of head coach RICK PEDROARIAS's first Loyola varsity football squad in a controlled intrasquad scrimmage played on a hot afternoon on Saturday at Hernandez Field.

Suffice to say, the Cubs looked better than many expected, in large part because of the installation of a new culture of discipline and physicality which Pedroarias and his staff have been working hard to ratchet up. The head coach was generally pleased with his inaugural team's effort on Saturday, but said there is still a lot of work ahead..

Coach Pedroarais praised the play of a number of players. He noted that junior quarterback NATHAN PRIESTLEY, who was the MVP of both the University of Washington and Cal football camps, did an excellent job  - in addition to his usual passing efficiency - controlling tempo, running the zone run-pass option, changing blocking assignments pre-snap, and running the ball. Freshman MILLER MOSS was sidelined with a minor injury, but should be back in the battle for the starting signal caller spot in about two weeks. Priestley, though, showed that his 6' 4", 192 lb. frame is can deliver in a big way.

The head coach was happy with the solid pass blocking of an O-line comprised of senior right tackle BRAYDEN UTLEY, junior right guard MARCUS AGUILAR, senior center TY MAHAR, senior left guard WILL ANDERSON and junior left tackle SCOTT KASE. Starting junior right guard EA'SUS JIMENEZ y WEST and left guard candidate NICK YVANEZ were sidelined with minor ailments.

Pedroarias was very pleased by the the physicality and assignment execution of the linebacker corps. He described 6' 1", 248 lb. senior inside linebacker JACK FITZGERALD as "a force" as he filled holes with ferocity and blew up several running plays. The head coach also lauded the performance of senior inside linebacker JORDAN McMILLAN and the pass rush of senior outside linebackers TOMMY VANIS and JACOB McBRIDE.

Senior center TY MAHAR (6' 1", 266) was described by his head coach as a "warrior", whose relentless physicality harkens back to the rugged toughness which was the hallmark of the Steve Grady era.  Mahar had three pancake blocks and, according to Pedroarias, never stops his feet. He will be the anchor of a rapidly improving offensive line that is benefiting from the tireless and hard nosed coaching of  line gurus P.J. PASCALE '78 and FERNIE HERNANDEZ.

Senior running backs MICHAEL GRAVES and McBride ran hard through the tackles all afternoon, and junior tailback SPEED FRY look shifty on outside runs.

The head coach liked the disruptive play displayed by senior nose guard COLE MILLER, whom he described as a D-lineman "whose motor never stops".

Pedroarias was happy with the pass catching and route running exhibited by senior wide receiver DAKOTA SMITH (6' 2", 209) and junior wideout ALEX BLAKE (6' 1", 192).  The efforts of senior corner NATHAN BUSTOS also caught the head coach's eye.

Several starters did not play because of minor injuries and others were assigned to just one side of the ball notwithstanding that they will play both ways.

Loyola team captains elected
Their varsity teammates elected, in alphabetical order, senior center/DL TY MAHAR, senior WR/OLB DAKOTA SMITH and senior WR/TE/OLB TOMMY VANIS as captains of the 2017 squad.

Cub sophomore team shows defensive prowess
Head coach RIC FLORES and his staff, composed of Loyola alumni GREGG BRENTON '80, ANTHONY HOLLY '87, GIFFORD IRVINE '82 and FRED SAINZ '83, have imbued a physical style of play in their sophomore troops  Flores praised the effort displayed in Saturday's scrimmage of linebackers STEPHAN ARELLANO, CUTLER CLIFFORD and NIKKO GONALEZ.  Flores was also happy with the play of WR/S DOMINIC BELISLE and quarterbacks DAVIS WARREN and ANTHONY ARNOU.  The soph linebacking corps is special. CARTER LINK, another standout linebacker, was held out of Saturday's scrimmage, but will be a key member of the linebacker quartet.

Loyola freshmen have talent
First year head coach JOSH AHN has to be pleased with the athletic talent of his 2017 freshman squad.  Wide receiver ZAKHARI SPEARS showed off his prodigious skill set with four receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.  Quarterback JACKSON DADICH looked good behind center as did FINN COLLINS.

The starting offensive and defensive lines are strong. Corner CEYAIR WRIGHT demonstrated his athleticism in the scrimmage with a pick.

Loyola plays Redondo Union on Smith Field Friday
The Cubs will get their first opportunity to hit against another team when they host Redondo Union this Friday in a varsity scrimmage at Bob Smith Field at 6:00 p.m.

Cub football alumni out in force to support new era of Cub Football
There were too many Cub Football alumni at Loyola's three intrasquad scrimmages on Saturday to count.  Among the former Loyola grads in attendance were KEVIN HARBOUR , TONY PACHO and PAUL PELENTAY, all members of the 1974 squad that finished 10-1.  CHAD PEPPARS '07 was the starting tailback on the Cub CIF Southern Section Division I champion team in 2005. JOHN WINNEK '87, one of the toughest competeitors to put on the blue helmet, was a standout fullback on the 1986 squad. KEVIN BENDER '91 was an All-CIF Div. I defensive end on the 1990 CIF champion club. Those were just a few of the former Loyola players who came out to support the Big Blue.