When the Loyola Cubs take on the St. Augustine Saints from San Diego this Friday, they’ll be playing on their own campus — something they haven’t done since 1949.
For the past 65 years, Loyola has played its home games in various venues — most recently, for the last five years, at L.A. Valley College in Van Nuys, nearly 14 miles away from their campus.
This has been due mainly to the fact that Loyola’s facilities lack parking and enough permanent seating.
“Our alums have been asking for a while, ‘Can we please have a home game?’” Athletic Director Chris O’Donnell told The Tidings.
So, since February, the plan has been in the works: make 2015, the 150th anniversary of the school, special.
Consider Friday’s game against St. Augustine’s a practice run for next year’s anniversary.
“We want to make this run through as realistic as possible,” O’Donnell said.
Loyola has made more than 1,000 parking spots available with a $15 parking pass. The school will also be using a shuttle from Pershing Square to the stadium.
Los Angeles city officials have agreed to shut down Venice Boulevard. from Normandie Avenue to Vermont Avenue to help with traffic for the event.
And Loyola has rented bleachers, which will provide 4,000 additional seats for fans. Loyola expects to draw its biggest crowd of the season.
Adding to the experience, there will be multiple food trucks set up to provide food for the fans.
But they do not want everyone to forget the real event.
“First and foremost, it is a football game, not an event,” O’Donnell added. “We are really concentrating on the game itself. It’s about the players, the band, and the student athletes.”
And because the Cubs-Saints game has been sold out for weeks (tickets, in fact, sold out within 54 minutes of going on sale), Loyola is offering a free live stream on the school website at www.loyolahs.edu/home-game.
The game itself promises to be a good matchup.
The Cubs have started the season off strong, going 2-0, allowing 12 total points in two games, and averaging an impressive 45 points on offense. Last week, three Loyola running backs — David Cooper, Daniel Tolbert and Drake Beasley — each rushed for 100 or more yards.
The Saints come in at 1-1, both close games. They can be counted on to make it an exciting game as they try to spoil this “homecoming” of sorts for the Cubs.
“This game has a lot of energy behind it, due to the fact that it’s at Loyola,” O’Donnell said. “It is about our students, and we look to provide the best atmosphere possible for the fans.”