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#8 Junior Running Back Sia'anga Moala (photo by Brandon Wise)

COLEMAN STADIUM — Well, we now know that St. Monica football can score points after routing Animo Leadership, 41-0, on Saturday in Inglewood.

What’s news is that the Mariners can play a little defense, too.

The Mariners were particularly strong against the run as they limited Animo to just three yards on 27 carries. St. Monica didn’t let up when Animo dropped back to pass, either. As a team, St. Monica collected seven sacks with junior defensive lineman Patrick Romero leading the way with two and a half.

Despite shutting down Animo on its own field, St. Monica Head Coach Larry Muno said he still wants to see what his team can do against a tougher opponent, which comes next week against Christian of El Cajon, which is coming off a 32-20 loss to Kearny.

“It was nice to get the victory,” Muno said. “The kids had fun, but Animo is down this year.”

Muno spent the summer putting a new emphasis on defense. The second-year coach had already proven to be an offense-minded guy, but knew that his team wouldn’t improve on last season’s three wins without strength on both sides of the ball.

Despite the final score, Animo did have St. Monica on its heels to start the game. On the game’s first drive, Animo senior quarterback Walter Beck connected with wide receiver Robert Galda for a 50-yard gain down to St. Monica’s 8-yard line. Animo would make it to the 3, but failed on a fourth-down conversion giving St. Monica the ball.

Led by senior quarterback Matthew Partyka, the Mariners marched 97 yards down field, capping the drive with a three-yard touchdown run by junior running back Sean Martinez.

From there, the Mariners didn’t look back as they tallied 34 points at halftime. The score could have been worse, but Muno held most of his starters out during the second half.

In the air, Partyka finished the game seven-for-eight with 105 yards and one touchdown. He also carried the ball four times for 60 yards and a pair of scores.

But, like his coach, Partyka said he wants to see more out of his Mariners.

“I think there are still some things we need to watch,” he said. “There are things that we have to polish up.”

The Mariners’ next game is Saturday at Christian.

daniela@smdp.com

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