Varsity Football’s Collapse Against Alemany Keeps Team Out of CIF Playoffs

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Loyola’s season ended in a close 27-24 loss to the Alemany Warriors in the Mission Hills on Nov. 3.

After a close first half, the Cubs were up 14-13. Junior Nick Barr-Mira extended the Cubs’ lead to 17-13 after a 36-yard field goal. After a fumbled pitch, Alemany recovered the ball and ran it in for a touchdown, taking the lead 17-20.

Senior Nathan Bustos returned the following kickoff 99-yards for a touchdown, his second of the season, to close the gap to 27-24. After a successful Alemany onside kick, the Warriors secured only their third win of the season.

Led by freshman quarterback Miller Moss, who completed 12 of his 18 throws for 104 yards and a touchdown, junior running back Hunter Ballard, who ran for 104 yards, and senior Alex Johnson, who got his fourth interception of the season, the Cubs fought until the end.

Two weeks before, on Oct. 20, the varsity football team traveled to Encino to face the Crespi Celts. Head Coach Rick Pedroarias ‘84 and the Cubs rose to 5-4 for the season and 2-3 in the Mission League with a 17-0 win over the Celts.

Over the course of the game, senior quarterback Tommy Vanis threw for 45 yards and rushed for 112 yards. Vanis’ running and throwing capabilities created a dual threat for the Crespi defense. Early in the first quarter, Vanis ran for a 46-yard touchdown off an option play to put the Cubs ahead 6-0.

Vanis said, “Our defense did a great job of stopping them, and the offensive plays we went over during practice worked perfectly.”

Senior running back Dakota Smith accumulated 45 yards receiving and 72 yards rushing for a total of 117 yards. Smith had several runs that propelled the Cubs offense deep into Celts’ territory.

Because of the Cubs’ “Wolfpack” defense, which relies on the defense swarming the ball to tackle the ball-carrier with more than one defender,  the Celts’ offense was shut out for the first time all season.

Leading the defense were senior linebackers Jack Fitzgerald and Jacob McBride, who each made 10 tackles. Senior defensive linemen Patrick Casani and Brayden Utley each obtained a sack. Junior safety Alex Blake had an interception.

On special teams, senior punter Collin Flintoft had five punts combining for 179 yards. Four of his five landed within the 20-yard line, allowing the “Wolfpack” defense to shutout the Celts. Junior kicker Nick Barr-Mira converted two PAT’s and a field goal for a total of five points.

Pedroarias said, “Defensively, we played a phenomenal game and shut them down. Offensively, we didn’t complete a lot of passes, but we ran the ball well and controlled it. Special also teams did well, especially Colin Flintoft, who pinned them inside their 15 yard-line about four times, giving us the field position advantage.”

After the game against the Celts, the Cubs had a bye-week. Since CIF rules say that pads cannot be worn during practice, the Cubs had conditioning and lifting practice.

The coaches also took the time to go to the a Mission League game between Alemany and Bishop Amat to scout the Alemany Warriors.

The Cubs ended the season with 5 wins and 5 losses.

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