The Cubs defeated the Villa Park Spartans by a final score of 45-28 on Friday, Nov. 16. With this win, the Cubs move onto the Division 4 CIF Southern Section semifinals against Adolfo Camarillo High School.
The first quarter yielded high scoring for both teams. The first play of the game for Villa Park was a 59-yard gain on the ground to set up a touchdown for the Spartans. The Cubs answered right back with a productive first drive that lead to a touchdown by sophomore running back Harrison Allen to tie up the game 7-7.
Villa Park scored again but was met quickly with another touchdown by the high-powered Loyola offense. Sophomore running back Tahj Owens brought the score to 14-14 to close out the first quarter.
The second quarter proved far less offensively productive for each side, with both the Loyola and Villa Park defenses dominating the play.
The Cubs managed to hold their opponents to zero points all quarter, then broke through the Villa Park defense with a rushing touchdown by Allen, his second of the game. The score heading into halftime was 21-14 in favor of the Cubs.
In the third quarter, Villa Park scored first with a touchdown to bring the game to 21-21, but the Spartans proved unable to keep the score level. Junior wide receiver Ceyair Wright ran the ensuing kickoff for a 95-yard return touchdown, bringing the score to a 28-21 lead for the Cubs. Wright’s return was followed by a second touchdown for Owens, the fourth rushing touchdown of the game.
The Loyola defense was equally dominant in the third quarter to force and recover a Villa Park fumble. This turnover set up senior kicker Diego Burgos for a 33-yard field goal, which brought the Cubs to a commanding 38-21 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Villa Park was able to respond with a touchdown of their own, but it proved to be too little too late. The Cubs scored one final rushing touch- down by Owens, his third of the game, to cap off the score at 45-28 and defeat the Villa Park Spartans.
Junior guard Stefan Schroeder said, “This win was huge for us. We knew we could beat them if we brought our best effort the whole time, and we did just that.”
When asked about his performance, Owens said, “I couldn’t have done it without my o-block. I didn’t really need to do anything special. I couldn’t have done it without my team.”
Looking forward, senior defensive tackle Shane Stroyke said, “I feel confident that we will be able to handle our business and get ourselves into the CIF championship game.”
This victory, the Cubs’ second playoff win, advances Loyola to a semifinal matchup against Camarillo on Friday, Nov. 22 and brings them one step closer to becoming CIF champions.