By Fred J. Robledo
After opening the season next Friday against MaxPreps’ No. 1 team in the country, Mater Dei, Bishop Amat will hit the road and head to Chicago to take on Loyola Academy on Sept. 1, ranked 30th nationally and arguably the best in the state having lost only one game over the previous two years.Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty told a school radio station the highlight of the trip, however, is that Bishop Amat and its players will visit Notre Dame the following day and attend the Fighting Irish’s season opener against Temple.
“I have to admit, one of the features of the trip is going to Notre Dame, going to South Bend and watching the Irish play and feeling and soaking in the environment that makes college football what it is,” Hagerty said. “I’m anxious to see that. I understand they’ve done a lot of renovations which I don’t know because I’ve never been there before. But I’m looking forward to that, to sitting in there, seeing the band, seeing the players and touchdown Jesus. And maybe Rudy, who knows, but that part of the trip to me is the most exciting part after the game.”
Playing Loyola Academy a week after Mater Dei is a tough way to start the season.
“It’s about just playing the best teams that are out there and this a team (Loyola Academy) over the last two years is 27-1, and their only loss was in the state finals against a team they beat earlier in the season,” Hagerty said. “They’re the best that Chicago has to offer and the best Catholic school out there. They have a lot of tradition and pride.”
Hagerty said the game came about after running into some of Loyola Academy’s coaches at a strength convention.
“The attraction of taking our kids to a place like Chicago is a once in a lifetime chance, Hagerty said. “Some of these kids have never been on a plane or never been outside the San Gabriel Valley. It will expose them to the other part of the world where things are done a little different.”