Cub Football - Loyola routs Fairfax, 51-7, in opener

Loyola opened the 2018 football season on Friday with a one sided, 51-7, victory over mistake prone Fairfax at the Lions’home field on a balmy evening.

It was not a perfect performance - in fact the Cub coaches graded the initial effort with a “B” - but Loyola showed that it will field a significantly better offensive squad this fall than last season. The play of senior quarterback NATHAN PRIESTLEY was nearly flawless. The six-foot, four-inch field general, who attacked his off-season rehab from a campaign-ending injury suffered last fall, demonstrated that he is full go. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, with six different receivers hauling in his accurate aerials.

Priestley’s co-captain, senior running back HUNTER BALLARD, picked up where he left off in 2017, rushing for 78 yards in just seven carries (11 yards per carry), scoring three touchdowns of 40, two and five yards. Fearless sophomore wide receiver CEYAIR WRIGHT saw his star status take off as he took a handoff on a Wing-T play and raced 55 yards for a TD. He returned also returned a kick off 72 yards for six points.

Senior captain SCOTT KASE anchored the defensive line with 12 tackles, including one sack. Head coach Rick Pedroarias was pleased with the efforts of senior safeties PATRICK LARSON and ALEX BLAKE. The head man also lauded a great catch and broken-tackle run by senior tight end OSAZE ODIASE. Senior kicker NICHOLAS BARR-MIRA was perfect on all of his PAT attempts, booted an 18-yard field goal and pounded six of seven kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks. The offensive line did not allow a sack, which was a point of emphasis leading up to the game. Pedroarias noted that tackling in general needed to improve, but it should be noted that this was the first time in decades that the Cubs did not play another school in a tune-up scrimmage before their first contest.

By any measure, Fairfax is the worst team Loyola will face this season, but Loyola showed it will have a dangerous passing game to go along with its prowess running the ball. The level of opposition ratchets up significantly starting on Friday night as the Cubs host San Diego St. Augustine (2-0) at Smith Field.

Ballard started Loyola’s scoring landslide, sprinting 40 yards to the end one at the 9:57 mark of the first quarter. A little over three minutes later he bulled into the end zone from two yards out, and the rout was on. Wright scored next for the Cubs on a 55-yard sprint to pay dirt with 3:46 left in the first quarter. Priestley completed a 40-yard scoring strike to Odiase with 1:43 remaining in the first stanza. Barr-Mira ‘s PAT kick made the score 28-0.

Fairfax, which was plagued by sloppy, undisciplined play all night finally put a scoring drive together, culminated by a six-yard fourth down TD pass at the 8:50 mark of the second quarter. Wright raced 72 yards for a TD on the ensuing kickoff. The half time score was 35-7 in favor of Loyola.

After intermission Ballard plunged into the end zone from two yards out for his third TD of the night. Barr-Mira’s PAT kick made the score 42-7 with 5:28 left in the third quarter. Barr-Mira kicked an 18-yard field goal with a minute and eleven seconds left in the third to up the score to 45-7. By that time reserves were taking over for the Cubs. The fourth quarter was played with a running clock as the Big Blue’s bench was cleared. Running back JAKOB DUCHESNEAU bulled into the end zone from one yard out with 29 seconds left in the game. No extra point was tried. The final score was Loyola 51, Fairfax 7.

Loyola’s freshman team defeated Crespi’s frosh-soph team, 48-7, in an afternoon game played at Smith Field on Thursday. There were many big time plays by a large contingent of skilled athletes. The Cub freshman team looks to be in store for a successful campaign.