Over the past three weeks, the varsity football team struggled to clinch a victory over a stacked schedule.
On Sept. 29, the Cubs faced off against the Bishop Amat Lancers. With the Lancers leading 7-0 in the 4th quarter, junior Nick Barr-Mira kicked a 26-yard field goal that proved to be the only points scored by the Cubs.
Junior quarterback Nathan Priestley completed 10 of his 19 throws, amassing 142 yards before getting injured in the 4th quarter. Freshman Miller Moss replaced him, throwing a perfect pass down the field to a diving Alex Johnson. Following an Amat penalty, the Cubs were first-and-goal on the three yard line.
With three minutes left, the ball was handed off to senior captain Dakota Smith, who once again dominated on both offense and defense. Smith ran through the gap and landed on the one-yard line, reaching for the score.
The ball rolled into the end zone and was recovered by a Lancer. The officials ruled it a fumble and the game was effectively over.
The following week, Loyola battled against the Serra Cavaliers. Loyola’s “Wolfpack” defense was strong once again, shutting out the Cavaliers after halftime. The Cavaliers came to Smith Field averaging 37 points per game, but the Loyola defense kept them to just 7.
After an early interception returned for a touchdown, senior captain Tommy Vanis was put into the game as quarterback. He adapted well running and throwing the ball and led the Cubs to a long drive for a three yard touchdown.
Head coach Rick Pedroarias ‘84 said, “We wanted a more mobile quarterback who was a run threat. Tommy proved to be able to run around a little more.”
Vanis said, “There were a lot of open throws, and we had success when we sent some of our better receivers down field which opened up the short routes.”
The Cubs rallied late in the third quarter that resulted in a Barr-Mira field goal. The Cavaliers escaped with a 13-10 win.
Pedroarias said, “The defense played extremely well, as it has been all season. We stopped them, we tackled well and we shut down the running game.”
On Oct. 13, senior night, Loyola faced off against the league favorite Chaminade Eagles who are ranked 4th in the state and 17th in the nation.
On offense, Vanis threw for almost 200 yards, successfully eluding the speedy Eagle defense. On defense, Vanis helped make crucial tackles to slow down the Eagles.
Tonight, the Cubs will go on the road to Encino to face the Crespi Celts. Pedroarias said, “We can’t worry about playoffs until we win this game, so the team has to be ready to dominate this Friday.”