No quit in Cubs as they fight to finish against Chaminade - Freshmen play for league title on Thursday

Loyola defense fights to the end, but Cubs do not generate enough offense to pull out win against Chaminade
On Friday in a Mission League tilt against Chaminade in West Hills, Loyola's 'Wolfpack' defense made some bone-jarring hits and a determined goal line stand-which along with a 58-yard scoring pass, was one of the Big Blue's biggest plays-on a night which brought thunder, lightning and some heavy downpours. The most positive takeaway for the Cubs from the 27-10 loss to the Eagles was the grittiness displayed by a team which could have slid into a deep funk after losing its first two conference games. Loyola came to play and battled to the end.

Chaminade connected on a short field goal less than three minutes into the contest. On Loyola's ensuing possession the Eagles intercepted a Cub pass. On a short field, Chaminade put a drive together which culminated in a 13-yard run for a touchdown. The PAT kick put the Eagles up 10-0 at the 7:00 mark of the first quarter.

Another interception on Loyola's first play from scrimmage ended the Cubs' second offensive possession. Just when it looked like the flood gates would open for Chaminade, junior outside linebacker BRENDAN PERNECKY recovered an Eagle fumble at the Loyola's 28 yard line. The Cubs failed to convert on a fourth-and-one play near midfield following the fumble recovery and Chaminade kicked another field goal less than a minute into the second quarter to give the Eagles a 13-0 lead.

Loyola returned the ensuing kickoff to its 28 yard line. Shortly after converting a first down, Loyola senior captain NATHAN PRIESTLY threw a perfectly executed screen pass to sophomore wide receiver CEYAIR WRIGHT who raced 58 yards for a touchdown at the 8:59 mark of the second quarter. NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA's extra point kick drew the Cubs within six points, but a one yard TD jaunt by Chaminade just over five minutes later made the score 20-7 in favor of the Eagles heading into the break.

Barr-Mira kicked a 44-yard field goal at the 7:58 mark of the third quarter, making the score 20-10. Chaminade scored another TD late in the third stanza to increase its lead to 27-10. The Eagles had a first-and-goal opportunity at the Loyola three yard line, but a ferocious never-say-die effort by the Cub 'Wolfpack' stuffed Chaminade on its fourth down scoring attempt at the one yard line.

The fourth quarter was scoreless, and the home squad came away with its first Mission League victory.

Loyola will host longtime archrival Bishop Amat on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Smith Field. The Lancers soundly defeated Notre Dame, 28-14, in a lightning delayed game that was concluded on Saturday. Conference favorite Bishop Amat is 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the Mission League.  The Cubs need to keep on fighting. The contests against the Lancers are invariably hard fought by both teams.

Loyola freshmen will play for league title on Thursday after 42-16 demolition of Chaminade
The story line about the exploits of Loyola's talented freshman team has been focused on an explosive offense that is averaging 45 points per game going into the last two weeks of the season, but just as important to the success of the Cub yearlings has been a stalwart defensive unit that has relinquished an average of just 14 points per contest.

In the Cubs' 42-16 victory over Chaminade last Thursday in West Hills, Loyola's defensive prowess was exemplified with 24 seconds remaining before halftime when an Eagle player fumbled just short of Loyola's goal line. Cub corner RAMAN ENIGBOKAN picked up the loose ball and sprinted 95 yards up the home team's sideline for a touchdown to put Loyola up 35-0. Enigbokan, a track phenom, helped lead his Junior Olympic 4X100 relay team to a third place finish in North Carolina this summer. He is just one of the speedy athletes who lead the Cubs' 'Wolfpack' defense.

Among the many other defensive players who contribute to Loyola's stop unit are inside linebacker PATRICK SODL, and defensive linemen HARRISON MILLS, HENRY KUPIEC, JOE TAYLOR and SAM YOON. Offensive stars JACOBY KELLY, TAHJ OWENS, PETE VANIS, HARRISON ALLEN and NOLAN AHDERS are standouts in the secondary.

On Thursday, Loyola scored on its first possession as quarterback JOE TATUM hooked up with "CO" KELLY on a 60 yard catch and run at the 4:32 mark of the first quarter. JACKSON SHEA's PAT kick put the Cubs up 7-0. After Loyola's defense forced an Eagles' three-and-out, running back TAHJ OWENS raced 28 yards for a TD with 2:24 left in the first quarter. Shea's PAT kick made it 14-0 in favor of the Cubs.

Loyola safety PETER VANIS took a pick six back 90 yards just 15 seconds into the second quarter. It is one of several interception returns to pay dirt by the exceptionally talented Vanis this season. Shea's PAT boot upped the Cubs' lead to 21-0.

After the Cub defense forced another three-and-out, Tatum threw a second TD pass to Kelly, who made another of his patented spectacular catches, to extend Loyola's lead to 28-0. Enigbokan's 95-yard interception return padded the insurmountable Cub scoring margin to 35-0.

Tahj Owens turned on the jets on Loyola's first possession of the second half, this time sprinting 44 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game just over three minutes into the third stanza. Owens' score and Shea's PAT gave the Cubs a 42-0 lead. The Big Blue reserves played the remainder of the contest. The home team went on to score a pair of TDs and converted on both two-point PAT attempts to make the final score, Loyola 42, Chaminade 16.

This Thursday at Smith Field at 4:00 p.m. the Cubs will host Bishop Amat in a game that will determine the 2018 Mission League championship. You can throw out the records and comparative scores (both teams are undefeated in conference play) in this battle. The Lancers will undoubtedly be the most physical squad Loyola has faced this season. The Cubs (7-1, 3-0) will need to play a nearly flawless game to emerge from the title decider with the Mission League crown.

There is no doubt that a huge crowd will be on hand for Thursday's showdown, including Loyola supporters who have yet to see one of the best freshman teams in Loyola's storied football annals.