Loyola to face another ranked team on the road Friday

The Cubs (1-2) will take the road up to the Santa Clarita Valley this Friday to play Valencia (2-1), yet another highly ranked opponent. The Vikings are 19th in this week's Los Angeles Times' prep football top 25 rankings.

Valencia defeated Arcadia, 60-7, and Silverado of Victorville, 69-19, before being upended by 14th-ranked Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, 28-10, last Friday in Granada Hills. The Vikings probably possess the most physical offensive and defensive lines Loyola has faced thus far this season. The battles in the trenches will likely determine the outcome of what promises to be a hotly contested non-league skirmish.

Valencia is a very well coached, disciplined team. The Vikings are led by bruising senior running back Jake Santos (5-11,190), senior running back Nick Pham (5-8, 180), strong man senior center Tristan Lachman (6-1, 275), senior WR/S Mitchell Torres (6-2,190, 24.3 yards per catch in first two games), senior big play receiver Jayden Lawrence (6-2, 190, 31.7 ypc in first two contests), and senior quarterback Ryan Morrison (6-5, 210).

Valencia takes pride in its impressive strength and conditioning program, the results of which have allowed it to win ten consecutive Foothill League championships. The Vikings return six offensive starters from last season's league title squad.

Going into the Sierra Canyon game last Friday, Valencia showed great balance on offense, averaging 185 yards passing per game and 182 yards rushing. Sierra Canyon's defense forced the Vikings to be one dimensional, holding them to 30 yards on the ground on 29 carries. The Cub 'Wolfpack' defense will try to follow that script on Friday.

Monster schedule testing Cubs' mettle, Mission League opponents have cumulative 15-3 record to date
Loyola showed improvement last Friday in its 17-13 setback to Cathedral which entered the season as the Times' 25th-ranked program. Mistakes, including multiple penalties, cost the Cubs the game. Loyola will need to eliminate the miscues if it hopes to successfully compete in the seven remaining games on its slate. The Big Blue's final non-league foe, Vista Murrieta, is ranked 23rd in the top 25.

The Cubs' Mission League adversaries have posted an impressive 15-3 cumulative non-league record to date. Every Mission League team except West Hills Chaminade (2-2) is ranked in the Times' top 25: Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (3-0) 7th, Gardena Serra (3-0) 9th, La Puente Bishop Amat (3-1) 16th, and Mission Hills Bishop Alemany (4-0) 17th.

The good news is that Loyola will be battle tested when Mission League action gets underway on October 4. Except for the season's first opponent, Playa del Rey St Bernard, each of the Cubs' other four non-league foes have the talent to compete in the Mission League, which is exceptionally strong this year.

Keeping tabs on Cub grads
Former Loyola linebacker TEDDY GALLAGHER '16, who was a member of the Cubs' 2015 team that finished the campaign ranked 17th in the state, is tied for third on Coastal Carolina's solo tackles list. The Chanticleers, with middle linebacker Gallagher making big stops on defense, defeated Kansas 12-7 on Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas to record the program's first victory over a team from a Power Five Conference in its 17-year history.

University of Washington team captain and starting safety MYLES BRYANT '16, Loyola's MVP in 2015, continued to add to his impressive career stats in the Huskies' 52-20 rout of Hawaii on Saturday in Seattle. Bryant's two interceptions and a sack earned him Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors. The senior ball hawk is a lock for selection in next spring's NFL draft.