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Upgraded Talent Boosts St. Monica’s Optimism:

Can it really be that the 2009 St. Monica football team will have speed, depth and the capability to do well in the Santa Fe League?

That would be a stark contrast to undermanned, non-competitive Mariner teams of the last four years that lost 37 consecutive games before winning the last one.

But new coach Larry Muno says it’s so.

He has 25 players, which is about the normal amount for a school of St. Monica’s size, and says he has confidence in the majority of them.

“And our speed is dramatically improved,” he said.

Here are some names to know:

Kyle Schwan, one of the school’s better athletes best known for baseball, has come out for football for the first time and is a key lineman.

Matthew Partyka, a soccer player last season, is the quarterback. Sam Holguin, a part-time quarterback last season, is an able 6-foot-2 receiver; Danny White is another fine receiver. Ernesto Cenisceros is a senior lineman, Anthony Escelara figures prominently as a defensive back, Tommy Murray is a senior running back and safety, 6-foot-2, 200-pound Ruben Ramirez is a tackle and linebacker, and 200-pound Miguel Alarez is a guard.

Muno believes the Mariners’ talent level is improved from recent years when the program sagged to a point when suggestions were made the school should consider moving to the right-man level. That suggestion was never seriously considered however.

Muno cautions that the opening game against Mary Star in San Pedro could be difficult, but he expresses confidence that St. Monica will competitive in its league.

As for the future, Muno said he has talked to new Santa Monica High coach Travis Clark about combining their efforts to upgrade youth football in the city, something that could ultimately help the programs at both schools.

St. Monica and Santa Monica played each other twice this summer in passing league games.

“I don’t regard Travis and Santa Monica as a rival,” said Muno.

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