Loyola faces major challenge on Friday
There are is a lot of positive energy surrounding the new era of Cub Football, but the ebullience following Friday's 52-7 opening game victory over outmatched Fairfax now is being re-channeled into focus on Santa Margarita Catholic which is likely one of the best three teams Loyola will face this season.
Last fall the Cubs suffered one of their worst defeats of all-time at Saddleback College as they fell to the Eagles, 37-7. Santa Margarita dominated in virtually every phase of the game. And it appears the Eagles are again a Trinity League powerhouse that just might challenge St. John Bosco and Mater Dei. On Friday they ran roughshod over Downey, a team that compiled an impressive 10-2 record last year. Santa Margarita rolled up 508 yards of total offense in its 56-0 blasting of the Vikings. The Eagles' offensive line is gargantuan, and their skill position players have elite talent.
Loyola head coach RICK PEDROARIAS has been preaching since spring that the Cubs will fear no foe and not be intimidated by perceived talent differentials. He and his staff have been inculcating belief and determination as integral ingredients in the calculus that forms a winning program.
If the home stands aren't filled to the brim on Friday, shame on Loyola supporters.
Two metrics of note were achieved in Fairfax victory
Coach Pedroarias knows the importance of developing physicality as a paramount component of success on the gridiron. Two areas that evidence the physicality of a football team are the ability to pound the rock and the strength of the defense in stopping the run.
During the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era in college football and the recently established College Football Playoffs (CFP), every participant in the BCS championship games since 1998 and the CFP, which replaced the BCS in 2014, save for one, averaged over 200 yards per game rushing and relinquished an average of less than 200 yards rushing in the course of the season. While many of those teams possessed prolific passing attacks as well, there seems to be little argument that the ability to run the ball effectively and to stop the run are necessary ingredients to championship aspirations.
Against Fairfax on Friday, Loyola rushed for 248 yards, and held the Lions to less than 70 rushing yards. If those metrics can be maintained, the Cubs will be in good stead. Expect Loyola's aerial assault to be on display as well this Friday.
Four Loyola running backs, MICHAEL GRAVES, DAKOTA SMITH, JACOB McBRIDE and SPEED FRY, showcased their running prowess against Fairfax. Each possesses distinctive traits that make make the Big Blue's run game go. Talented junior running back HUNTER BALLARD, who has been sidelined with an injury, is expected to add his talent to the rushing stable as early as next week. Ballard rushed for over 1,300 yards on last season's sophomore team that finished 8-2.
The Cub 'Wolkpack' defense dominated in shutting down the run. Down linemen SCOTT KASE (NG), MARCUS AGUILAR (T), and BRAYDEN UTLEY (T), inside linebackers JACK FITZGERALD and JORDAN McMILLAN, outside linebackers McBride, Smith and TOMMY VANIS completely smothered the Lions' rushing game. Sophomore strong safety KEVIN PARADA also came downhill to make some big hits defensively for Loyola.
Grady honored by Loyola Gridiron Vanguard
Former Loyola head coach STEVE GRADY '63, the only man in California prep football history to be named California State Player-of-the-Year (1962) and State Coach-of-the-Year (2003), was honored at a dinner Saturday night hosted by the Loyola Gridiron Vanguard.
As varsity head coach from 1976-2004 Grady amassed an overall record of 269-77-6, led the Cubs to CIF Southern Section Division I championships in 1990 and 2003, and guided Loyola to the CIF finals in 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000. Grady capped his Cub playing career as a three year varsity starter by leading Loyola to the 1962 CIF AAAA title as a single wing tailback. A high school All-American, Grady was named 1962 CIF AAAA Player-of-the-Year.
Over 230 of Grady's former teammates, players and Loyola colleagues were in attendance at Saturday's celebration dinner. Cub alumni came from long distances - from San Francisco to San Diego and out of state - to honor their former coach and teammate. Among those in attendance were Rev. PATRICK J. CAHALAN, S.J., the Chancellor of Loyola-Marymount University and former Loyola High president, and BISHOP GORDON BENNETT, S.J., who served as both Principal and President at The High. Legendary 1990 CIF Player-of-the-Year DREW CASANI '91 served as Master of Ceremonies and head coach RICK PEDROARIAS spoke of the profound influence Grady had on him as a mentor.
It was a great tribute to a giant in the history of Cub Football annals and California prep football. In 2016 Grady was inducted into the CIF Southern Section Hall of Fame.
Cubs in college football updates
Three former Loyola players are on the two-deep depth chart at at preseason number-four ranked USC this season. Redshirt junior CHRIS BROWN '14, an All-CIF tackle for the Cubs in 2013, is the Trojans' 6' 5", 310 lb. starting left guard. REUBEN PETERS '14 is USC's starting fullback, and defensive end CHRISTIAN RECTOR '15 (6' 4", 275) is a second unit DE who saw substantial playing time last year. Freshman JACK WEBSTER '17 is a preferred walk-on wide receiver at Troy.
STEFAN FLINTOFT '14 is vying for UCLA's starting punting job. Three other former Cub players, linebacker WINSTON ANAWALT '17, tight end CONNOR BEADLES '17 and safety RYAN PARKS '17, are on the Bruins' roster.
Up north at the University of Washington, three-year All-Pac-12 starting center COLEMAN SHELTON (6' 4", 299) returns as the Huskies' most experienced offensive lineman. Shelton, a Rimington Award Finalist, is regarded as the second best draft eligible center in one of the well respected 2018 NFL Draft prognostication surveys. Former Loyola All-State Special Mention DB and team MVP MYLES BRYANT '16 is Washington's starting nickel back.
KEATON DARNEY '14 is slated as a second-string offensive tackle as a redshirt junior at Syracuse University of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Redshirt junior NICO EVANS '14, an All-CIF D-I RB at Loyola, is one of Wyoming's top two running backs. ADAM PILAPIL '14, Evans' teammate with the Cubs, is a second string middle linebacker for the Cowboys.
At the University of Michigan, former Cub All-American, All-State first-team and All-CIF Division I defensive back DAVID LONG '16 is starting at corner for the Wolverines.
Thirty-three former Loyola football players are currently on the rosters of college football teams.
There was at least one wrestling team at Loyola before the Brenton brothers formed their own two-man squad
Last week a story about sophomore running back coach GREGG BRENTON '80 and his brother DAN' 78 representing Loyola in CIF wrestling competition - even though the school did not have a wrestling team - appeared here. It was reported that Loyola never had a wrestling squad. It turns out that was not true as some watchful alumni readers pointed out that Loyola fielded a wrestling team in 1960 and competed in CIF competition as a freelance team. Head coach Birren moved on to the collegiate ranks after serving as head man for one campaign, and the school never competed in wrestling thereafter, except for the Brenton brothers' two-man, self-made squad in '78.
The 1960 Loyola wrestling team had many football players as member, including BYRON NELSON (later a star at UCLA on the Bruins' defensive line), and STEPHEN QUESENBERRY.
See the link below. Note the group of Jesuit priests in the background of one of the photos enjoying the competition. Thanks to the class of 1960 and other alumni for the information.