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The battle for South Bay football bragging rights: Mira Costa vs. Loyola

"Home of the Mustangs" is painted in Mira Costa's new gym
Mira Costa’s new gymnasium opened this past season and could host future Loyola vs. Mira Costa competitions.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Loyola and Mira Costa have one of the strangest sports rivalries in the Southland. They are located 17 miles apart, they aren’t in the same league and the areas of their campuses couldn’t be more different, with Loyola an all boys private school near downtown Los Angeles and Mira Costa a public school that’s walking distance from the sand in Manhattan Beach.

So how come when they meet in football, basketball, volleyball, soccer or any sport, it’s like the two communities suddenly perk up, get loud and get fired up?

The answer is simple: South Bay bragging rights are always at stake. Loyola’s student body is filled with boys from Manhattan Beach, so when the two teams play football on Friday night at Mira Costa, some Loyola students will probably walk home. About 20% of Loyola’s varsity football team lives in the South Bay. Many have grown up as teammates with Mira Costa players in youth competitions.

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Loyola’s leading tackler, linebacker Patrick Sodl, lives close to Mira Costa’s campus, and his sister attended the school. Senior safety/kicker Jackson Shea lives around the block from Sodl.

Yes, if Mira Costa were able to keep all its neighborhood kids from leaving for a private school, it would be a powerhouse. But Manhattan Beach has been sending Catholic students to Loyola for years. And Mira Costa has been doing pretty well, winning a Southern Section Division 1 soccer title last spring while being a perennial power in volleyball.

The schools, players and fans all seem to get along well. If you’ve ever been to a Loyola-Mira Costa volleyball match, it’s one of the great sporting events of the year because of the high quality of the action and the intensity of the fans.

“I think the volleyball rivalry established the Mira Costa-Loyola rivalry,” Loyola volleyball coach Mike Boehle said. “It’s bragging rights for that little beach town in Manhattan Beach.”


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