"Never again" should be the mantra for the Cubs as they move forward from last week’s 42-5 demolition at the hands of state number 15-ranked St. Augustine in San Diego. The forgettable venture down south must be put in the rear view mirror with no look back as Loyola will try to get back on track in week three. “Never again” can there be the lack of execution and mistake-prone effort which were the hallmarks of the disaster against the Saints if the Cubs still intend to reach their 2019 goals.
Loyola travels to Cathedral (2-1) on Friday night for its next non-league battle on a schedule that is as tough as they come. The looming contest against the favored Phantoms will be no walk in the park.
Cathedral’s sophomore signal calling prodigy, Lucas Lenhoff, has thrown for 1,118 yards and nine touchdowns in THREE games. Many high school quarterbacks would be pleased with those stats in a 10-game regular season. Lenhoff has a bevy of talented offensive targets to whom he spreads the ball at a 68% completion clip.
Senior Venice transfer Chad Johnson, Jr. (6-3, 187) leads the fast, sure handed wide receiver corps. The son of former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco”, he is the real deal. Johnson has an uber talented group of battery mates. Suffice to say, the Big Blue secondary will be tested early and often.
If the Cub ‘Wolkpack’ can put pressure on Lenhoff, Loyola’s chance to prevail will be significantly enhanced. On the other side of the ball, the Phantoms bring the heat. Their stop squad is spearheaded by outstanding linebackers. The Big Blue’s offensive line must step up on Friday night.
Junior offensive lineman Nathan Mejia (6-3, 265) is the centerpiece of a gargantuan Phantom line platoon which includes players listed at 385, 367 and 355 pounds.
Loyola does possess the talent to defeat a Cathedral team coming off a 40-21 victory over Carson. Will the Cubs make the leap in terms of the execution and physicality needed to secure a win? The answer should come into focus early in Friday evening’s much anticipated fray. It is not necessarily a referendum or a bellwether contest for the Big Blue, but the direction of the campaign may well follow the outcome.
At this juncture, every game is a veritable playoff contest. Next Friday’s opponent, Valencia, has outscored its first two opponents by the combined score of 129-26. The perilous gauntlet is unrelenting and unforgiving. The Cubs have a tough row to hoe for the remainder of the season, as each future opponent on the schedule is formidable. “Never again” needs to be the mindset of the Big Blue from this point forward. It’s gut check time for Loyola.
FORMER CUBS IN COLLEGE
Two former Cub MVPs, MYLES BRYANT ‘16 (Washington safety and team captain) and TOMMY VANIS ‘18 (Cal linebacker) were part of defensive slugfest in a lightning-delayed game played in Seattle last Saturday and early Sunday morning. Vanis’s Bears upset the Huskies, 20-19.
Loyola’s 2014 Defensive MVP CHRISTIAN RECTOR ‘15 played a big role as a defensive lineman for USC in the Trojans’ 45-20 romp over Stanford at the Coliseum on Saturday.
LOYOLA GRADS IN THE NFL
Former Cub star ANTHONY BARR’s Minnesota Vikings opened their NFL campaign with a 28-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons. A 6-5, 255 lb. inside linebacker, Barr is a four time Pro Bowl player, was a consensus All American at UCLA and the recipient of the Lott IMPACT Award, which is bestowed on the best defensive player in collegiate football.
DAVID LONG ‘16 (Michigan), an All-American corner on Loyola’s 2015 squad which finished the season ranked 17th in the state, and COLEMAN SHELTON ‘14, an All-League lineman for the Cubs in 2013, are members of the Los Angeles Rams, who defeated the Carolina Panthers, 30-27 on Sunday.
Former Cub All-CIF tackle CHRIS BROWN ‘15 (USC), is a practice squad player for the Los Angeles Chargers who opened the season with a 30-24 home win over the Indianapolis Colts.