MALIBU — St. Monica’s football team needs a little distance.
After a lopsided 61-0 loss to South Hills in the season’s second week last Friday, the Mariners (1-1) and their first-year coach could use a win right about now.
On Saturday, they’ll get their chance at redemption against Malibu (0-2) on the road.
“We didn’t show up,” Head Coach Adam Guerra said of last week’s loss. “We made way too many mistakes.”
Guerra used this week’s practices as a way to put a little space between them and their poor showing. He doesn’t plan on doing anything drastically different, in fact he said that he wants to stick with what he’s been preaching all summer: “hit your blocks,” “respect your assignments” and “avoid mental errors.”
Last week’s loss stung, but Guerra didn’t feel like his team was physically dominated despite what the final score may indicate. The biggest problem, he said, was the team’s lack of discipline, something that he’s trying to instill in his new program.
“This is a good week to bounce back,” he said. “Malibu is a sound team, but not complicated. It gives us a chance to not be complicated ourselves.
“We want to see who’s fundamentals are better.”
Part of Guerra’s coaching tool box is hammering the football at the strength of the defense. Tasked with that order will be senior running back Sean Martinez, who shined during the week one win over Animo and actually ran effectively against South Hills, gaining just over 70 yards.
The one thing that Guerra said he’d like to see from his Mariners is strong play from the tight end position. Chris Corbally and Blaze Hilario give quarterback Lukas Dretzka a nice safety valve if wide receivers are bottled up.
“We think that our guys have the ability to make things happen at that position,” he said. “It gives us another threat.”
After watching film of Malibu, Guerra couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the two schools’ offenses.
Like the Mariners, Malibu tends to set up with two running backs. He described the Sharks’ offense as pretty basic without many exotic formations or wrinkles.
“They aren’t’ running any spread option or anything like that,” Guerra said. “It’s going to be a good game, we’ll see who blinks first.”
When not rushing the ball, Malibu will look to quarterback Dylan Miller who is somewhat of a dual-threat passer. Guerra said that one of the things that does worry him is Miller’s ability to scramble.
“He’s the kind of guy who can run enough if you fall asleep on him,” Guerra said of Miller. “We’ll have to stay at home, making sure he doesn’t take off.”