BRENTWOOD — When St. Monica football takes the field on Saturday against Brentwood for the first time ever, the Mariners may think they are looking into a mirror.
Each team likes to pass the ball all over the field and is forced to cope with a small roster. Both squads feature players who often play on both offense and defense and, apparently, they both have a fair share of respect for each other.
“[Brentwood] is just really well coached,” said Larry Muno, St. Monica’s second-year head coach. “They don’t appear to do anything wrong.”
On the other sideline, Brentwood Head Coach Patrick Brown, who has coached the Eagles for 30 years, has taken notice of what Muno has been able to do in his short time at St. Monica.
While the success is still somewhat modest, Muno took over a program that was in the midst of a three-season losing streak. He led the Mariners to a 3-6 record last year, and has seen his guys begin this season 2-1.
Muno has given the keys to his Mariners to senior quarterback Matthew Partyka, who excels in what the Mariners call their “NASCAR” offense. Partyka has passed for 579 yards thus far and has tossed six touchdowns. The only problem for the senior has been his four interceptions, with three coming during last week’s victory over Malibu.
Muno said that he would like to see Partyka bring that ratio down and has pledged to run the ball with backs Sia’anga Moala and Sean Martinez to take pressure off a quarterback who is playing just his second season of football. The two have rushed for a combined 136 yards and three touchdowns.
With the addition of wide receiver Sam Holguin, who missed almost all of last season due to injury, Brentwood’s Brown said that he’s impressed by St. Monica’s play makers.
“You have to contain that quarterback,” Brown said. “He can cause a lot of problems if you let him move around.”
Brown will counter with a pair of physical defenders in defensive lineman Michael Ceja and linebacker Christian Proctor. On a team that Brown characterizes as under sized, the duo give the Eagles “a little physicality.”
“They spread the field,” Brown said of St. Monica. “It puts a lot of pressure on us to try to stop their running game. We’re small up front, they are bigger than we are.”
The game is scheduled for Saturday at Brentwood. It begins at 1 p.m.