Loyola High School hosts first home football game in 65 years

Saturday, September 13, 2014
Loyola HS hosts first home football game in 65 years
To kick off its 150th anniversary celebration, Loyola High school hosted its first home football game in 65 years.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For 65 years, Loyola High School's football team didn't play a single homecoming game at home. The team instead traveled to various local stadiums.

All that changed Thursday when the school faced off with St. Augustine High School, winning 42-35. The first true homecoming game in decades kicked off the celebration of Loyola's 150th anniversary.

"To be able to have the game here in this setting, instead of having to get on a bus and go to Glendale or Santa Monica or the valley somewhere, it's a great way to bring everybody together," said Rob Gianelli, who organized the game for the school as an "experiment."

School officials are expected to study whether or not to hold more home games in 2015, Gianelli said.

In preparation for the big event, the school converted its practice field into a game field. They brought in bleacher seats for 4,000 people.

Tickets for the game sold out in minutes.

Former coach Steve Grady said the return home was "one of the major events" of his life.

Grady graduated from Loyola in 1963 and later coached the football team for 29 years. He's the only person in C.I.F. history to win both player of the year and coach of the year.

As the oldest academic institution in Southern California, the all-boys, Catholic school has always taken pride in its sports teams. They've won two C.I.F. football championships.

"Los Angeles was a little bit ragged town back in the 1860s and those who governed thought it would really help develop the society and the culture if a high school, an educational institution, started," said Jack Girardi, chairman for a year long 150th anniversary celebration.

Danny Farmer played wide receiver during the early-1990's. He went on to be one of UCLA's top receivers of all time and played for four different NFL squads.

"I started as a boy and became a young man," Farmer said of his time at Loyola.