In an article about St. Monica football last month, this writer erroneously provided the information that the Mariners have lost 19 of their last 20 games. The streak is actually worse – 29 in a row.
“We haven’t won since the opening game three seasons ago against Bishop Montgomery,” said Sean Ritter, the third Mariner head coach during a forgettable period in which St. Monica has lost 35 of its last 40 games. “We don’t talk about ending the streak. Our first goal is to be competitive.”
With a shortage of talent, St. Monica couldn’t compete well in its annual non-league game against Santa Monica and the series was cancelled. But St. Monica didn’t do well in other games either. It’s closest loss last season was by two touchdowns.
However, there’s reason for optimism now. The arrival of five transfers, development of returning players, and a promising group of youngsters from St. Monica’s lower level teams make Ritter cautiously optimistic.
In addition, three home games have been scheduled at Corsair Field, giving St. Monica a hometown presence after calling St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey home for the last half dozen years. St. Monica doesn’t have a campus field and practices at Memorial Park.
Ritter’s optimism is tempered by the fact St. Monica still doesn’t have a lot of depth. But it does have some.
The new quarterback is senior Joe Giesregen, who was a receiver and cornerback last season. Ritter describes him as “smart and tough.” The primary running back will be senior Hector Santfiesteban, one of two transfers from Loyola High. Danny White, the son of Mariner baseball coach Jack White, will be a receiver.
A major reason why the offense was unproductive last season was the absence of big, strong, talented linemen. That figures to change because newcomers Chris Evans and Petor Kaliban weigh 290 and 275. Both have transferred from Daniel Murphy High, which closed. Evans was voted Murphy’s best lineman in 2007.
Also figuring prominently on the offensive line are returnees Apolloo Nestoia, Kris Rocha, Edwin Mejia, and Jack Porter. The group gives Ritter a chance to do some substituting. Depth isn’t as apparent on defense but some younger players may develop.
White, Porter, Rocha, Nestoia, Mejia, and Santfiesteban are counted on to play both ways, and transfer Mike Hulowski will figure prominemtly when some paperwork from his transfer is cleared up.
St. Monica plays in the Santa Fe League.