If you read this story you’ll have difficulty believing it’s about St. Monica football — a program with 37 losses in its last 38 games.
But new coach Larry Muno sees the Mariners as a vastly improved team — a group with talent, depth and speed.
It didn’t just happen. Muno basically recruited the student body, held tryout days and by the start of spring practice had a large number of new squad members including baseball star Kyle Schwan.
“We have competition at a lot of positions,” said Muno as St. Monica recently completed spring practice. “As for speed, last season we had one player who could run five flat in the 40. Now we have six.”
Muno believes the team’s new offense will function well with either Sam Holquin or Matt Partyha at quarterback. Holguin, a junior who gained some experience last season, is also a quality receiver. Partyha joins the team after playing soccer last season.
Schwan figures as an important lineman, Danny White as a receiver and others who had a good spring include Jack Porter, Ruben Ramirez, Tommy Murray and Manny Alavez.
The most important subtractions are 1,000-yard running back Hector Santiesteban, who graduated, and tight end Michael Holobowski, who has decided not to play football.
St. Monica had a 37-game losing streak over four seasons, the longest in California, before ending it in the final game last season with a win at Salesian.
On this season’s schedule the Mariners will play three home games at Corsair Field, the same as last season. The games will be Sept. 26 against Laguna Beach, Oct. 17 against Salesian and Nov. 7 against St. Anthony. Those games will all begin at 7 p.m.
Without a campus field St. Monica loses time as it travels to practices. Off-season workouts have been conducted at the Santa Monica airport field and at Lincoln Middle School.
“But there’s new energy in the program,” said Muno.”I believe we can be competitive in the Santa Fe League.”