Venice High has taken on one of the most difficult football schedules in school history.
The Gondoliers lost to Carson in their opening game Friday, September 8, 30-25, and will oppose defending CIF Division 1 champion Loyola this week.
And that’s just the beginning.
On September 21, Venice will host Santa Monica, which won its opening game and figures to be a contender in the Ocean League. On September 28, the opponent will be nationally-ranked Oaks Christian, which has the much-heralded Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. Clausen has turned down USC and announced he will go to Notre Dame.
This is all prior to Venice’s Western League schedule, which includes traditional rivals, including a game at Westchester October 20.
Coach Angelo Gasca, a one-time SMC quarterback, is taking on the challenges in order to prepare his team for the LA City playoffs. A city championship is one of Venice’s primary annual goals.
Considering what is ahead, Venice’s loss to Carson was surprising. Although the Colts have been an LA City power, they were only 3-8 last season.
There were no turnovers in the game until Richard Ragland, Venice’s junior quarterback, threw one with three minutes left in the game. Ragland also threw two touchdown passes.
Last year Venice edged Santa Monica at Corsair Field in one of the best games of the Westside season. The Gondoliers were led by running back Kenny Ashley, who later declared for USC but did not qualify academically.