HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

CORSAIR FIELD — St. Monica’s Mariners are looking within to improve their lot this season.

Starting the year 1-2 has first-year Head Coach Adam Guerra reviewing his approach to the game of football as they prepare to take on nearby Brentwood Saturday at Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

“A lot of it is we’re very young, just finding out who can play and where,” Guerra said. “That’s been the learning curve for us.”

To that end, Guerra has supplanted Lukas Dretzka at quarterback with junior Luke Cain. Guerra feels that Cain gives his team a better shot at opening up an offense that has been run-dominated. Cain came into the role during last week’s loss to Malibu and showed Guerra something. At least enough to look to the pocket passer to help right the Mariners’ ship.

“We’re not hitting the panic button by any means,” Guerra said. “The coaching staff is new, we’re still figuring things out.”

Guerra has also shuffled the offensive line, hoping to open up the passing game to complement the output of starting running back Sean Martinez. The offensive line is in flux as Guerra searches for solutions.

Part of Guerra’s rationale for the changes is to get his receivers more involved. He’s disappointed that senior tight end Chris Corbally has only four catches in three games.

“That’s something we have to fix,” Guerra said. “[Corbally] is big, fast and strong and needs to get the ball.”

While St. Monica is working on its passing game, Brentwood is expecting the run.

Head Coach Patrick Brown is struck by St. Monica’s size on the offensive line, making stopping St. Monica’s rushing attack a tough task. He’s particularly impressed with Martinez, who ran effectively against Brentwood during last year’s first meeting.

“I have a feeling [Martinez] will get the ball a lot,” Brown said. “We have to be ready for that.”

Brentwood, which is decidedly young, starts just one senior on defense. Linebacker Brennan Hughes is the sole senior and will be called on to spearhead the defense. He’s joined at linebacker by junior Aaron Fritts, who makes the calls on that side of the ball.

“We have some active, aggressive linebackers,” Brown said. “They are our strength.”

Aside from respecting St. Monica’s running game, Brown has taken note of newcomer Guerra. After watching tape, Brown came to the belief that the first-year coach has instilled discipline in the Mariners during his short time on the sidelines. High praise coming from Brown, who has spent 31 years as Brentwood’s head coach.

“That’s the one thing that shows up,” Brown said. “They seem to be in the right place, they’re on the right track.”

For Guerra, he’s not all the way in agreement. His changes at quarterback and on the line show that he’s still finding his way as he seeks to mold the team in his image.

“We’re not making wholesale changes,” Guerra said. “Just trying to figure out what works.”

daniela@smdp.com

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