Cub Football - Loyola begins new era with 52-7 win

LOYOLA STRONG IN FIRST GAME OF NEW ERA OF CUB FOOTBALL
It wasn't the score - 52-7 - that told the story of the first game of a new era in Cub Football which dawned on Smith Field under the lights on August 25. It was the discipline with which Loyola competed, the speed with which the Cubs executed their assignments, the regimented adherence to fundamentals maintained, the relentless physicality Loyola brought to the field and the clearly visible team unity displayed that was the story of the first football game under the leadership of new head coach RICK PEDROARIAS '84.

It is true that Fairfax, despite the luxury of having 15 returning starters, a heralded transfer quarterback and a group of juniors that went 10-0 as JVs last season, was not the caliber of opponent Loyola will see for the remainder of the season, but one thing was made clear by the effort showcased against the Lions, the Cubs will compete with great heart and determination for the balance of the 2017 campaign.

A blocked punt by senior inside linebacker JACK FITZGERALD which was recovered in the end zone not only started Loyola's scoring avalanche against Fairfax, but also demonstrated evidence of Pedroarias's strong emphasis on superior special teams play. Sophomore strong safety KEVIN PARADA blocked another Lion punt in the second quarter, scooped it up and raced in for the Cubs' fourth TD. Junior kicker NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA, ranked among the top ten kickers in the Southland by the Los Angeles Times, converted all seven of his PAT tries and added a field goal just before halftime to make the score 31-0.

Senior team captain DAKOTA SMITH scored two rushing touchdowns of three and one yards. Senior running back JACOB McBRIDE raced 20 yards for six points, and junior speedster SPEED FRY ran for TDs of 19 and seven yards.

Loyola's 'Wolfpack' defense played with the speed and fury with which the famed stop squads of the Steve Grady era did. Senior linebackers JORDAN McMILLAN and Fitzgerald led the pack in completely shutting down Fairfax's offense. The Lions' only score came late in the contest against Cub reserves. Junior nose guard SCOTT KASE wreaked havoc up front, in addition to manning the left tackle position on the O-line.

The offensive line, spearheaded by senior captain TY MAHAR at center and senior BRAYDEN UTLEY at right tackle is fast improving, and allowed the run game to dominate. 

Freshman MILLER MOSS became the first freshman in Loyola annals to start a varsity game. The precocious signal caller calmly handled his quarterback duties with aplomb.  Junior QB NATHAN PRIESTLEY also looked smooth running the offense in the second half.

Santa Margarita will be one of the four best teams Loyola faces on its 10-game regular season schedule this fall.  The Eagles annihilated Downey, 56-0, in their opener. No doubt, the battle against Santa Margarita presents a huge challenge, but all indications are the Cubs are up to it in this exciting new era of Cub Football.