The final task was the most difficult one for an injury-riddled St. Monica football team.
With only 28 players to begin the season the Mariners won their first game and lost all the rest. By last weekend only 15 team members were available and the opponent was Delphic League champion Verbum Dei, the CIF’s second-rated team in its’ division.
St. Monica lost, 36-6, not as great a margin of defeat as in other games as running time began in the second quarter to hold the scoring down.
“We were behind 12-0 in three minutes against a powerhouse, talented team with some players who are going on to Division 1 football,’’ said St. Monica Coach Jason Strouse. “I was concerned about injuries but we were able to get through the game.
“What can you say after a 1-9 season? That the St. Monica kids have a lot of heart. That Jon Parks kept making tackles right to the end. That Kevin Lew gave us leadership. That the injuries were unprecedented and there’s no reason to think anything like this will happen again.”
Billy Thompson, the Mariners’ best defensive lineman, was the latest to become a running back as injuries took away player after player. He gained 46 yards on 25 carries and scored the Mariners’ touchdown.
Victor Chang, a 125-pound senior, started at cornerback for the first time.
Among the injured Mariners was Anthony Flores, who had emerged as the team’s best player in recent weeks. He didn’t play because of a wrist problem.
Strouse says he’s encouraged about the future because of the success of Mariner lower level teams. He has been on both ends of victory and defeat in the last year. First he coached St. Monica to a league championship in track. Then came a football season that began with a 22-20 win over Bishop Montgomery and finished with nine consecutive losses.St. Monica scored 61 points and gave up 358.