Last season the Saint Monica football team was overpowered in most games and rarely had a chance to win, as their three-year losing streak reached 29.
In the first game of 2008 the Mariners again didn’t win, but they were far more competitive in a 20-7 loss to Mary Star of San Pedro Saturday, September 12.
The outcome wasn’t decided until Mary Star scored with four minutes to play and then stopped a Saint Monica drive that reached the Mary Star 12-yard line.
Saint Monica, bolstered by five transfer players, gained 150 yards on the ground and inspired Coach Sean Ritter to say, “We were much more competitive than last season.”
However, Ritter added: “We still have to do the little things better. We didn’t execute well enough to win.”
Among Saint Monica’s problems were six facemask penalties.
Hector Santiesteban, a transfer from Loyola High, gained 102 yards on 15 carries as he ran behind an experienced offensive line, one of the team’s strengths.
Joe Giesregen, taking over at quarterback this season, completed six of 10 passes for 118 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown to Daniel White which reduced the Mariners’ deficit to 13-7 in the third quarter.
Rafael Padilla had eight tackles for the Mariners, and Tommy Murray intercepted a pass on the goal line and returned it 50 yards.
St. Monica will play a non-league game Saturday, September 20, against Animo of Inglewood at Harbor College. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.