Varsity football advances to CIF playoffs

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By James Sims

Loyola has won its last four games, reaching an overall record of 8-1 (4-1 in Mission League).  Loyola is also ranked as the ninth best team in California, according to maxpreps.com. With their recent success, the Cubs are one win away from clinching second place in Mission League.  

PHOTO BY THE REV. FATHER JOHN QUINN, S.J.

PHOTO BY THE REV. FATHER JOHN QUINN, S.J.

On Sept. 25 the Cubs lost to the Serra Cavaliers 35-17 at Loyola High School. Junior tailback Drake Beasley, Jr., finished with 171 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while senior defensive back Myles Bryant had 12 tackles against Serra’s offense.  

Loyola then faced the Chaminade Eagles at Loyola High School on Oct. 2. The Cubs held the lead with a score of 24-7 at halftime, and went on to win the game 31–13. Junior quarterback Sean O’Malley had his best performance this season, throwing for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, O’Malley added 41 yards on the ground. Junior linebacker Winston Anawalt led the defense, recording 10 tackles, and two sacks.  

The Cubs faced the Crespi Celts on Oct. 9 at Crespi High School. In the first quarter, the Cubs came out on a tear, outscoring Crespi 28-0, a lead that Loyola held through the fourth quarter. Loyola won the game 35-6, improving their record to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in Mission League. Senior Myles Bryant finished the game with 109 all–purpose yards, an offensive touchdown, and  a total of 10 tackles on defense. Both senior defensive end Jack Hock and sophomore defensive end Jackson Sirmon controlled their ends on the line with 10 tackles each.

The closest game for the Cubs was against the Bishop Alemany Warriors at Bishop Alemany High School on Oct 23. Loyola went into the game following a bye week, while Alemany entered the game with a two-game losing streak. The Cubs had a couple of crucial turnovers that could have cost them the game, which came down to the wire in the fourth quarter. As a result of a turnover on downs, Loyola narrowly beat the Warriors 24-21. Beasley, Jr., ran for 213 yards and an offensive touchdown. Loyola’s defensive line sacked Alemany’s quarterback six times, three sacks coming from Sirmon.

Last week the Cubs faced the Notre Dame Knights at Notre Dame High School. The Cubs controlled the entire game, holding the Knights scoreless until the fourth quarter and finishing with a final score of 45-14. Senior wide receiver David Long, Jr., had a big offensive game with four receptions and two touchdowns at wide receiver.

Senior safety Jordan Riordan lead the defense with eleven total tackles. With this win, Loyola is now 8-1 overall and 4-1 in Mission League play.

The Cubs are currently tied for second place with the Bishop Amat Lancers in Mission League with a record of 4-1, trailing the 5-0 Serra Cavaliers. Loyola has already clinched a CIF Southern Section Pac-5 Division Playoffs berth as one of the top three teams in Mission League. With a win against the Lancers, Loyola would continue as the second place team in Mission League.

The best possible scenario for the Cubs would be a win against Bishop Amat tonight and a Serra loss to Chaminade. Following the success of this season, the Cubs will advance to the CIF Pac-5 Division playoffs for the first time since 2011.

This year’s team has steadily improved from last year’s team, winning four more games than the previous season.  Seven of the seniors on this year’s team have been playing varsity since their sophomore year.

Senior captain and three-year varsity veteran Jordan Riordan is impressed with his team’s performance thus far. “The leadership of this team has really helped us reach playoffs. Everyone’s committed to one goal.  Also, a lot of players have been in this program for a while, so it’s easier to work together because we’ve known each other for a long time,” he said.

Throughout this Mission League season, the Cubs have seen a lot of improvement from junior quarterback Sean O’Malley, according to his teammates.  Having transitioned from JV to varsity midway through his sophomore year and becoming the starting quarterback, O’Malley has emerged as a captain of the Loyola offense this season. About the changes to this year’s team, O’Malley said, “We want to win more.  Last year’s team didn’t have the intensity and will to win that this year’s team has.”  On his personal improvement over the years, he said, “I feel more comfortable in this offense and this system.  I also think the coaching had an effect on it.  Overall, I try harder and harder every day.”

PHOTO BY THE REV. FR. JOHN QUINN S.J.

PHOTO BY THE REV. FR. JOHN QUINN S.J.

Tonight Loyola is preparing for Bishop Amat as if they were preparing for a playoff game, according to Coach Marvin Sanders.  Because both teams have lost to the Serra Cavaliers, the winner of tonight’s game will finish ranked second in Mission League and the losing team in third. Bishop Amat is coming off a 30-22 win over Chaminade and is returning from a bye week.  

Bishop Amat is currently ranked sixth in California, despite two losses. The Lancers have a 6–0 record at home, but they are 1-2 on the road. The Cubs are approaching this game keeping an eye on Amat’s senior wide receiver Tyler Vaughns, a USC recruit who is leading the Mission League in receiving yards. Another player that Loyola’s offense is watching is senior linebacker Matthew Terlizzi who leads the Mission League in total tackles.  

Tonight the Cubs and the Lancers will leave it all on the field in the battle for second place in Mission League and a higher seeding in the CIF playoffs.

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