Former Loyola football star running back committed to Cubs, commutes over 130 miles a day to coach at his alma mater
When conversations get underway about the best football players who ever wore the hallowed blue helmet of the Loyola Cubs, one of the running backs whose name always comes up is GREGG BRENTON '80. brenton was a fast, hard nosed back on the 1977 CIF Big Five Conference semifinalist team and the 1978 and 1979 Del Rey League championship squads. Brenton's outstanding skills as a runner helped Loyola amass a 27-5-2 record over the three year span he played varsity football for the Big Blue.
Brenton recently retired from a decorated career as a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department where he trained deputies in personal defense. A highly skilled expert in multiple martial arts disciplines, Brenton is still as physically fit as he was as a player, and now he is imparting his wealth of knowledge about the offensive backfield positions to the running backs in his first season as a coach on the Cub sophomore squad. What makes his new role with Cub Football remarkable is that Coach Brenton commutes round-trip over 130 miles a day to coach at his alma mater. Talk about commitment . . . Coach Brenton is an impressive role model for his players.
Brenton had a funny story about his time at Loyola. He and his older brother, Dan '78, an All-Del Rey League center for the Cubs in '77, were both skilled wrestlers and had competed at an elite level in the sport for years before their arrival at Loyola. There was no wrestling team for them to compete on at Loyola, so the Brenton brothers (when Dan was a senior and Gregg was a sophomore) went to the late JON DAWSON, the famed Cub defensive coordinator and athletic director, and lobbied "JD" to allow them to represent Loyola in the 1978 CIF Championship Wrestling competition. "JD" relented, and sure enough the Brenton brothers - for the only time in the 152-year history of the school - represented the Cubs in the CIF wrestling tournament. Two wrestlers strong, Loyola finished 23rd out of a field of more than 100 schools.
Last season at this time senior two-way lineman BRAYDEN UTLEY was a back-up wide receiver and linebacker. After a monster off season in the weight room in which he gained nearly 50 pounds and grew an inch, Utley is now an athletic starting lineman at right tackle on offense and nose guard on defense . . . Senior running back MICHAEL GRAVES is another player who toiled relentlessly in the weight room since the conclusion of last season. His hard work earned him a spot as a starter . . . Three Loyola players were listed as among the best at their position by the Los Angeles Times on its preseason player lists: DAKOTA SMITH (wide receiver), TOMMY VANIS (tight end) and NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA (kicker) . . . Loyola has won two CIF Division I football championships (2003, 2005) since Mater Dei last won a title in 1999, who would have thought that? . . . Loyola has more former players (34) competing in collegiate football than most schools in California; it is believed that only one other high school has more players playing at the collegiate level . . . Senior wide receiver/corner ALE$X JOHNSON is a play maker for the Cubs - he had a pick six and TD catch in the scrimmage against Redondo Union on Friday. Expect big things from Johnson on both sides of the ball this fall.