Offensive futility continues in loss to Notre Dame

Loyola dropped its second Mission League game on Friday night, falling to Sherman Oaks Notre Dane, 28-7, at Smith Field. Offensive futility continued to hamper the Cubs’ quest for a victory. Loyola’s skein of ineffectiveness on the offensive side of the ball culminated in a sixth consecutive defeat.

Since their season opening win, the Cub offensive platoon has scored just 15 points (a field goal against St. Augustine, a TD against Alemany and another touchdown against an average Notre Dame squad). Defense and special teams put the other 24 of 39 total points on the board since the season opener. Loyola’s offense has averaged just 2.5 points in its last six outings. Suffice to say it has been the worst offensive drought in a six game span in decades.

The lone touchdown scored by the Cubs (1-6, 0-2) against the surging Knights (5-2, 2-0) came at the 6:26 mark of the fourth quarter when senior quarterback and team captain NATHAN PRIESTLY scampered 16 yards to the left corner of the end zone.

Aside from its woeful offensive struggles, the nadir of the night for Loyola came with 13 seconds left in the first half when the Cub defense looked like it expected Notre Dame’s quarterback to take a knee, only to watch the 6’ 3” sophomore signal caller race 63 yards untouched for a touchdown. The ensuing PAT kick upped the Knights’ insurmountable lead to 21-0 as the teams headed to their locker rooms.

Early on in the contest, it appeared as though Loyola might make a game of it against Notre Dame which entered Smith Field following a resounding 38-7 drubbing of Serra in its Mission League opener on September 28. The Cubs’ ‘Wolfpack’ defense forced the Knights to punt on their first possession. But according to exasperating form that has become habitual, Loyola’s initial offensive possession ended in a punt. Notre Dame faced a third-and-fifteen situation at its 35 yard line on its next possession, when the Knights’quarterback threw a quick screen to his tailback, who raced 65 yards for a TD at the 3:27 mark of the first quarter.

The Cubs’ next three possessions ended in a punt, interception and another punt. Notre Dame missed a 42-yard field goal and was held to a three and out by the ‘Wolfpack’ before scoring on a 25-yard pass with 5:45 left in the second quarter. It looked as though Loyola would still be in it going into halftime thanks to a scrappy effort by its defense. Then mind numbing disaster struck with 13 seconds left before intermission. Deflated would be too mild a word to describe the Cubs’ emotions at the break. 

The Knights’ scored on a fumble return set up by a sack late in the third quarter, to extend their lead to 28-0. In the search for positives in yet another disheartening defeat, one can hang his hat on Loyola’s defense pitching a shutout after intermission. Unfortunately, without help from the offense, the Cub stop unit cannot be counted on to carry the load. Having scored just two offensive touchdowns in 24 quarters, there is little reason to anticipate different results going forward. With three games remaining, Loyola will have to find a magic elixir to cure its offensive woes. 

The Cubs will travel to West Hills next Friday to take on Chaminade (2-5, 0-2), which fell to Alemany (6-1, 0-2), 31-14, on Friday.