St. Monica fell behind Mary Star, 26-0, in its opening football game of the season Friday night.
Later, the Mariners were behind, 46-20. However, the game was tied at 46 with 1:53 to play. Only then did the home team drive to the winning touchdown and a 53-46 victory.
“I’ll never forget my first game as the St. Monica coach,” said Larry Muno.
Brimming with optimism, Muno had talked about a vast improvement in the Mariner program but had also been cautious regarding the first game due to Mary Star’s ability.
Now he remains optimistic going into this weekend’s game against Animo of Inglewood at St. Bernard High.
“I’m very encouraged,” said Muno. “Our kids showed so much heart and our fans cheered them after the game we battled the whole way.”
Matthew Partyka, a former soccer player starting his first game as the St. Monica quarterback, passed for 378 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more touchdowns.
Partyka is only 5-foot-6, 135 pounds, but he’s a big man on a football field.
His primary receivers were Jamal Young and Sam Holguin, while Kyle Farber, a transfer from Mira Costa High and tailback Anthony Escelara and Ernesto Ceniceros made major contributions and Tommy Murray had a 40-yard run called back on a holding penalty.
Muno praised Runen Ramirez, Jack Porter and Raul Ramos on defense.
In recent years, a loss in the opening game might lead Mariner fans to say “Here we go again!” But this seems different.