The varsity football team, ranked 23rd in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times, is off to a 4-1 start to the season following last Friday’s 28-21 victory away against Notre Dame. Tonight, the Cubs play the 0-4 Bishop Amat Lancers at the annual Bring Your Little Brother to the Game day at Smith Field.
Heading into Friday’s league opener against the Notre Dame Knights, head coach Rick Pedroarias said, “We had a very different game plan for Notre Dame [compared to previous games]. They are not a throwing team like Cathedral. They are a running team.”
On Sept. 22, the Cubs beat the Notre Dame Knights 28-21 and succeeded in preventing the Knights’ Head Coach Kevin Rooney get his 300th win.
Senior Nathan Bustos started the game off strong by returning the opening kickoff for over 90 yards. On the same drive, junior quarterback Nathan Priestley started his first varsity game and threw a touchdown pass to junior Alex Blake. Seniors Jacob McBride and Dakota Smith both had rushing touchdowns, ending the first half up 21-7.
Junior kicker Nick Barr-Mira and senior punter Collin Flintoft had solid performances, as Flintoft had seven punts averaging 47 yards, and Barr-Mira landed four of his five kickoffs in the endzone.
Junior Hunter Ballard rushed for Loyola’s last touchdown in the fourth quarter, setting the game at 28-7. The Knights fought back, scoring twice in the fourth quarter, but were unsuccessful in toppling the “Wolfpack” defense.
On Sept. 15, head coach Rick Pedroarias ‘84 and Loyola’s varsity football team faced off against the Cathedral Phantoms at Los Angeles Southwest College.
The game was full of penalties, with the Cubs and the Phantoms amassing 11 penalties each for a combined 165 penalty yards. Overall the game was dominated by the “Wolfpack” defense that exemplified the new era of Loyola football. The Cubs defense was led by senior captains Tommy Vanis and Dakota Smith.
Pedroarias said, “Cathedral did what we expected them to do, which was throw the ball every down.”
The “Wolfpack” defense did their homework and prepared for the Cathedral quarterback and receivers. Instead of the standard 4 to 6 defensive players on the line, the Cubs decided to have only 3 linemen rushing.
Pedroarias said, “The defense was really good. Our pass rush was solid, and we covered their very talented, explosive receivers.”
This defense was extremely successful, racking up 4 sacks for 24 yards lost and an interception by senior Jacob McBride deep into the 4th quarter.
Smith, who had four tackles and a sack, said, “We played hard-nose football for four quarters. Our ‘Wolfpack’ D worked all night, and we played amazing team football. We played hard from the very beginning and that’s what we had to do to get the W.”
Led by junior quarterback Nathan Priestley, Loyola’s offense did exactly what they intended to do. The Cubs controlled the clock by marching the ball down the field, keeping the Cathedral offense off the field.
Pedroarias says, “We protected the ball and moved it well, chewing up time on the clock.”
The Cubs succeeded, ending the first half up 7-0 after Smith’s rushing touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Priestley connected with wide open senior Alex Johnson to extend the lead to 14-0. Following Nick Barr-Mira’s 34-yard field goal, the Phantoms scored with under 4 minutes to go to make the score 17-7.
Senior captain Tommy Vanis said, “Our defense really stepped up and made a lot of stops. Our offense capitalized on the opportunities that we had and it all worked out.”