Players of the Year

AL POLLARD #18

1945 & 1946 CIF LARGE SCHOOLS PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Loyola’s only two-time CIF Player-of-the-Year, Al Pollard led the Cubs to two consecutive Catholic League Championships in 1945 and 1946. Dubbed by the sporting press as the “Loyola Express,” Pollard was a punishing runner in coach Bill Sargent’s T formation. As a senior, Pollard was a big reason the Cubs (10-1) played in the CIF Large Schools championship game for the first time. Loyola lost the title contest to Alhambra, 7-6, in the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, but the setback did not stop Pollard from earning Player-of-the-Year honors for a second consecutive season. The senior halfback gained 1,722 rushing yards and scored 23 touchdowns in 1946. 

After graduation from Loyola High, Pollard played briefly at Loyola University before taking his talents east to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he played under the legendary Red Blaik (three National Championships, three Heisman trophy winners). His backfield coach at Army was Vince Lombardi. Pollard was the Black Knight’s statistical leader in 1950, averaging 7.3 yards per carry and scoring 83 points. He was named All-American by the Helms Athletic Foundation. 

Pollard was drafted by the New York Yanks (NFL) in 1951 and later competed for the Philadelphia Eagles for three seasons. He finished his playing career in Canada where he achieved All-Canadian status. Pollard later served as the radio color commentator for the Eagles’ radio broadcasts for many years


STEVE GRADY #36: 

1962 CIF AAAA PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Steve Grady, Loyola’s fourth CIF Player-of-the-Year, was the top prep player in California in 1962. The 6-0, 205 lb. single wing tailback combined speed and power in leading the Cubs to their first CIF title. Grady scored 217 points for the undefeated (12-0) 1962 CIF Champions. He rushed for 35 touchdowns, led the state in rushing with 2,097 yards (6.6 yards per carry) and passed for 738 yards and 10 touchdowns. Coach Lew Stueck’s Loyola Cubs outscored opponents 387-87, with the Grady-led offense averaging 32 points per game. 

Grady is the only player in California prep football history to be named both state Player-of-the-Year and state Coach-of-the-Year (2003). In 2003, Grady coached Loyola to the CIF Division I title, downing a highly-rated L.B. Poly squad in the championship game. 

Following his graduation from Loyola, Grady played under legendary coach John McKay at USC (four National Championships, two Heisman trophy winners). After a brief stint in the NFL and a short tenure in his family’s business, Grady returned to Loyola. He took over the reins as varsity head coach in 1976, following the Cubs’ undefeated 1975 (13-0) CIF AAAA and National Championship campaign under Marty Shaugnessy. 

Grady’s 29-year career (1976-2004) as Loyola’s head coach was one of unparalleled success. He amassed a 269-77-6 overall record, cementing his place among California’s all-time great prep mentors. Grady coached the Cubs to CIF Division I Championships in 1990 and 2003 and to the CIF Division I Finals in 1992, 1995, 1996 and 2000. From 1988-2004, Grady’s Loyola teams played in the CIF Div. I semifinals, or beyond, eleven times. Eighty-five of his players earned All-CIF honors and four, Drew Casani (1990), Antoine Harris (1996), Matt Ware (2000), and Scott Deke (2003), were named CIF Division I Players-of-the-Year. 


DON SWARTZ #75 

1963 CIF AAAA PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Loyola won a second consecutive CIF AAAA championship in 1963, shutting out El Rancho, 21-0, in the title game before record attendance at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. The 12-0 Cubs outscored their opponents 350-53 under first-year coach Mario DiMuro. 

Loyola’s offensive line was overpowering, allowing junior tailback Mike Bergdahl to rush for a school-record 2,317 yards on 317 carries (7.3 yards per carry). The lynchpin on the Cub O-line was a talented and dominant offensive tackle, 6-3, 205 lb. 1963 CIF AAAA Player-of-the-Year, Don Swartz. A two-way lineman, Swartz overwhelmed his opponents with uncommon power. It is a rarity for a lineman to earn CIF Player-of-the-Year honors, and Swartz was only the second CIF trenchman to receive such accolades, the first being Charlie Powell of San Diego High in 1950. Loyola has an illustrious history of lineman, including 1964 All-CIF tackle George Kunz, who garnered All-American status at the University of Notre Dame and, following a 1st round draft selection, played in eight Pro Bowls during his professional career. Swartz, however, is the only Cub tackle to date to earn CIF Player-of-the-Year honors. 

Swartz continued his football career at Stanford University where he lettered under head coach John Ralston in 1966 and 1967. 


PAUL HORGAN #16 

1961 CIF LARGE SCHOOLS PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Paul Horgan, Loyola’s third CIF Player-of-the- Year, was a single wing tailback for Coach Lew Stueck. Horgan’s running talents were instrumental in helping the Cubs capture the 1961 Catholic League Championship and advancing to the second round of the CIF playoffs. Horgan’s senior campaign set the stage for Loyola’s legendary thirty-five game victory skein from ’62-’64, which still stands as a CIF Large Schools record. 

Horgan amassed 2,003 yards of total offense, including 1,451 yards rushing. He averaged 182 yards of total offense per game over the span of eleven games. He was also named the Catholic League’s Most Valuable Player. Horgan scored 118 points, including 18 touchdowns and five conversions. He passed for an additional seven touchdowns and also played safety for the Catholic League Champion Cubs. 

An outstanding student, Horgan was the Valedectorian of Loyola’s class of 1962. 

Horgan continued his playing career at UCLA where he competed for the Bruins in the 1966 Rose Bowl under head coach Tommy Prothro. 


DREW CASANI #55 

1990 CIF DIVISION I DEFENSIVE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Loyola’s sixth CIF Division I Player-of-the-Year, Drew Casani, is one of the legendary gridders in Loyola’s storied football history, not only because he was a ferocious force at inside linebacker for two seasons, but also because he played with unbelievable courage and intensity through three quarters of the 1990 CIF 

Division I title game against Quartz Hill at Anaheim Stadium with a broken leg. The late sports columnist, Alan Malamud, of the Los Angeles Times extolled the courageous play of Casani in helping to lead the Cubs to a 24-14 victory over the Rebels in his Monday column following Loyola’s fourth CIF Large Schools title. Casani was also instrumental in Loyola’s run to the CIF Division I semifinals in 1989. 

Casani continued his playing career at UC Davis and Arizona State, where a shoulder injury cut short his playing days. Casani served as an assistant coach at Loyola for several seasons and worked in the player personnel office for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers and he worked as a scout for the St. Louis Rams. 


ANTOINE HARRIS #80 

1996 CIF DIVISION I DEFENSIVE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Loyola’s seventh CIF Division I Player-of-the- Year, Antoine Harris, was a two-way star for Loyola’s 1996 CIF Division I Finalists. The 6-4, 230 lb. tight end / defensive end was a force on both sides of the ball for the Del Rey League Champion Cubs who finished the 1996 campaign with a 12-2 record under head coach Steve Grady. 

On offense, Harris led the team in receiving yards, touchdown receptions, and average yards per catch. He was also a dominating blocker. From his defensive end post, Harris was the team’s third leading tackler and scored a touchdown on one of two interceptions. In addition to being named the Del Rey League’s Most Valuable Player and the Los Angeles Times’ Central City Lineman-of-the-Year, the high school All-American was also awarded the prestigious Los Angeles Times’ Glenn Davis award, honoring the top football player in the Southland. Harris also received first team All-State accolades and was Loyola’s Most Valuable Player. 

Harris was awarded a football scholarship to USC where he excelled as the Trojans’ starting tight end for four years. He was the first ever true freshman to start at tight end for USC. 


MATT WARE #17 

2000 CIF DIVISION I PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Matt Ware, Loyola’s eighth CIF Division I Player-of-the-Year, is considered one of the finest athletes to ever compete in any sport for the Loyola Cubs. 

Ware, under the tutelage of head coach Steve Grady, led Loyola to the 2000 CIF Division I Championship game at Anaheim Stadium, where it lost an overtime heartbreaker, 16-13, to Long Beach Poly. Ware displayed his supreme athleticism at both quarterback and free safety. He rushed for 1,030 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and 16 touchdowns, and passed for 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns. It was the first time in Cub football annals that a Loyola quarterback both rushed and passed for over 1,000 yards. In addition to Ware’s offensive exploits, he recorded 58 tackles and three interceptions on defense. 

Ware was a USA Today first team All-American, a Parade All-American, the Los Angeles Times’ Central City Player-of-the-Year and Del Rey league Player-of-the-Year for 2000. Loyola’s team MVP, he was awarded a football scholarship to UCLA. 

Ware started at cornerback as a true freshman for the Bruins and was named Pac-10 Freshman-of-the-Year and first team freshman All-American by the Sporting News. He played minor league baseball for the Seattle Mariners in 2002 and 2003. Ware played professional football as a defensive back for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles (2004 NFC champions) and Arizona Cardinals. 


SCOTT DEKE #11 

2003 CIF DIVISION I OFFENSIVE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Scott Deke, Loyola’s ninth CIF Division I Player-of-the-Year, quarterbacked the Cubs to the 2003 CIF Division I Championship. Deke, who accounted for all of the Cubs’ scoring in the championship game with three touchdown passes, also made a big play on defense with a late interception as Loyola held on to defeat Long Beach Poly, 21-17, at the Home Depot Center, securing for Loyola its fifth Southern Section Division I football championship. Deke’s perfectly thrown game-winning touchdown pass to Chris Johnson and his game-sealing interception came in the last two minutes of a dramatic championship tilt. 

In addition to his CIF Player-of-the-Year accolades, Deke was named Co-Most Valuable Player-of-the-Year of the Serra League. The first team All-Serra League signal caller passed for 2,150 yards and 22 touchdowns. He also rushed for 399 yards. Loyola finished the campaign 11-3 under head coach Steve Grady. 

The team captain is the second in of a long line of outstanding Loyola quarterbacks to be named CIF Division I Player-of-the-Year. Deke’s passing yardage totals were the most of any Loyola signal caller to that point in time. 

Deke accepted a football scholarship to the University of Virginia. He is the first Loyola player to ever play football for the ACC’s Cavaliers. 


HENRY BURGE #7 

2005 CIF DIVISION I OFFENSIVE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR 

Loyola’s tenth CIF Division I Player-of-the- Year, Henry Burge, was the centerpiece of a prolific passing offense that helped lead Loyola to its sixth CIF Large Schools Championship and twelfth appearance in a major division title game. 

A player who was not only physically gifted, but also played with great moxie, Burge set every Loyola passing record, completing 66% of his passes for 2,806 yards and throwing for 26 touchdowns in 2005. The All-Serra League signal caller played brilliantly in Loyola’s 49-42 victory over Esperanza in the CIF title game. Burge, who passed for 407 yards and six touchdowns in the contest at the Home Depot Center, engineered a potent aerial attack and completed two touchdown passes within the final 58 seconds of the game to overcome a seven-point deficit and seal the heart-stopping victory for the Cubs. Burge’s top two receivers, All-CIF honorees Marcus Lawrence and Taylor Joseph, gained 970 and 918 receiving yards, respectively, the most by a Loyola receiving duo in Cub football annals. 

Burge was named Loyola’s Most Valuable Player and All-State honorable mention. Burge was Loyola’s third consecutive quarterback to be acclaimed CIF Player-of-the-Year.