Approaching its annual non-league football game against Santa Monica Friday night, St. Monica High is battered and hasn’t scored a point in two weeks.
A 24-0 loss to Harvard-Westlake last weekend followed a 49-0 loss to El Segundo. Four senior co-captains have been injured and all-league tailback Vincent Valdez is ill.
Valdez didn’t play last weekend due to a kidney infection and his status is unknown for this weekend. Tight end Matt McGee and backup David Najera have shoulder injuries, quarterback Taylor Watson broke an arm and backup quarterback Tommy Marone has a knee problem.
Ricky Valdez, Vince’s twin brother, moved from fullback to tailback last weekend and had 34 yards on 14 carries. But quarterback David Allieo was sacked eight times by the No. 1-rated team in CIF Division 13 and the Mariners’ total offense dropped to 20 yards.
St. Monica and Santa Monica met for the first time two years ago. St. Monica won the first meeting and Santa Monica won last season. Since St. Monica plays home games at St. Bernard High in Westchester, its Corsair Field game against Santa Monica represents a one-time opportunity to be seen in the city.
Coach Jason Strouse was looking forward to the game initially. He talked about promoting it heavily and inviting members of the City Council to attend.
He retains a degree of optimism.
“Our players know how good Santa Monica is but we’re going to prepare the best we can and give our best,’’ he said. “Sure it would be an upset if we won considering the circumstances, but in high school sports we’re teaching values. I think it’s good for the two Santa Monica schools to play each other and [Samohi coach] Mike Burnett feels the same way.”
Strouse was disappointed in his team’s play against El Segundo but more upbeat after the loss to Harvard-Westlake.
“I was pretty happy with our defense,” he said. “They’re an outstanding team and we held them to 150 yards.
“We haven’t been able to get anything going on offense, though, having to move so many players around.”
McGee has been able to play despite his shoulder injury but is unable to throw, which prevented him from moving to quarterback when Watson went out. And Ricky Valdez’ move to tailback takes him away from his fullback duties.St. Monica won its opening game from Bishop Montgomery, 22-20, before the injuries occurred and has a 1-2 record.