Loyola cruised to a 38-0 opening game victory over an inferior opponent in Playa del Rey St. Bernard on August 30, but the sledding will be exponentially more difficult this Friday as the Cubs travel to Mesa College in San Diego to take on the number 19th-ranked team in California, the Saints of St. Augustine.

Suffice to say, it will be a steep uphill challenge for Loyola as it looks to upset the 2018 CIF San Diego Section Division I champions. The Saints return 18 starters from last season’s state playoff squad. St. Augustine rolled over its first two non-league opponents, Bonita Vista and Eastlake, by the combined score of 84-7. The Cubs fell to the Saints at home last fall, 28-10. Both teams are better this year, but whether Loyola’s improvement will enable it to be in the contest from a competitive standpoint is a much debated question as the Cubs prepare for the trek down Interstate 5.

Leading the way for St. Augustine’s high-scoring offense are junior running back BYRON CARDWELL (6-0, 200), dynamic senior QB ANGELO PERAZA, senior wide receiver SAM SCAIFE (6-2, 206) and senior tight end MICHAEL AMBAGTSHEER (6-4, 248). Ambagtsheer dominated the Cubs last fall, picking up over 200 receiving yards. He has 20 scholarship offers. Cardwell amassed 1,521 all-purpose yards as a sophomore, and already has offers from the likes of USC and UCLA. The Saints’ potent offense is supported by a big, strong offensive front led by senior NICK SYLVESTER (6-0, 270).

St. Augustine’s defense is an imposing, physical shut down unit. In the Saints’ 47-0 rout of Eastlake last Friday, they held the Tritons to negative rushing yards. Nose guard CHRISTIAN GAETA (6-1, 280) is an immovable force in the middle. The exceptionally strong line anchor creates utter havoc in opposing offensive backfields. The linebacker crew is big and tough, and the Saint secondary is fast and athletic.

Scorebook Live California ranks St. Augustine the number one team in San Diego County, and thus far the Saints have more than earned their spot atop the rankings.

The keys for Loyola to have success will be the play of its much improved offensive line, which will have its hands full all night with Gaeta and company, and the defense’s ability to slow down St. Augustine’s powerful running game. If the Cubs struggle in those areas it could lead to a depressing return bus ride to Los Angeles. Loyola showed toughness in its win last week. It will need to turn up the burners to full blast this Friday to have a chance. The Cubs must be in attack mode all night to secure a statement-making victory.

Before Friday’s 7:00 pm kickoff, the San Diego area Loyola alumni will be hosting a tailgate get together starting at 5:00 pm in the parking area east of the Mesa College stadium where the solar panels are located. All Loyola supporters are welcome, but it would be best to bring your own food and beverages.

MYLES BRYANT ‘16, the University of Washington’s starting All-PAC-12 free safety led the Huskies in tackles (nine with TFL) in U-Dub’s 47-14 season opening victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday. Bryant is one of two team captains at Washington and is on the Jim Thorpe, Bednarik, and Lott IMPACT watch lists. The highly talented DB was Loyola’s MVP on the 2015 team that finished 9-3 and 17th in the state.

There are currently 27 former Cubs playing college football.

Third round 2018 draft pick DAVID LONG ‘16, an All-American/All-State/ All-CIF corner for the Big Blue in 2015, and later an All-Big-10 DB at Michigan, made the Los Angeles Rams’ 53-player active roster. On Monday former Cub All-League lineman COLEMAN SHELTON ‘14 (All-PAC-12 lineman at Washington) was picked up by the Rams from the Arizona Cardinals, and is now on the Rams’ active NFL roster.

With Long and Shelton on the Rams’ roster, it marks the first time two former Cubs were on the same NFL team at the same time.

Former All-CIF offensive lineman CHRIS BROWN ‘15 (USC) made the Los Angeles Chargers’ practice squad.