HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL
CORSAIR FIELD — A year removed from a 21-7 loss to St. Anthony, the St. Monica Mariners look like a totally different team to the coach patrolling the opposing sideline.
St. Anthony Head Coach Brian Walsh is impressed with some of the things that he sees in St. Monica. He likes what Head Coach Frank Muno has done with the offense during his first year with the Mariners, making St. Monica difficult to game plan against.
The passing game is what caught Walsh’s attention most. With junior quarterback Matthew Partyka behind center, Walsh said this year’s edition of the Mariners is certainly more dangerous.
The two teams meet Saturday at Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field at 7 p.m.
“They are fun to watch,” Walsh said of St. Monica. “They swing the ball all over the place.”
Unfortunately for St. Monica, the passing game hasn’t alone been able to carry the team during a three-game losing streak that most recently saw the Mariners fall to Santa Fe League leader St. Genevieve last week, 48-28.
Coming into the game at 2-5 overall and 0-3 in league, St. Monica has little to lose, and that’s what worries Walsh the most.
He expects them to come out passing with Partyka looking to wide receivers Danny White and Kyle Farber, putting stress on his defensive backfield.
“We haven’t faced a team that throws the ball like St. Monica,” Walsh said. “We’ve faced teams who run out of (the spread formation), but we haven’t seen a team that likes to sling it around like they do.”
Admitting that his team hasn’t seen “anything comparative,” Walsh is interested to see how his defense holds up.
He didn’t name names, but he said “a total team effort will be needed for us to slow them down.”
Walsh said he will ratchet up the pressure on Partyka to force the pass-crazy QB to rush his deliveries. He said that may prove to give his defense the time it needs to cover what has become a valuable receiving corps.
A key to creating pressure for St. Anthony (4-4 overall, 0-2 in league) will be the play of sophomore middle linebacker Thomas Brown. Walsh called him his best defender and fully expects him to give Partyka fits all night.
When not giving quarterbacks headaches, Brown is shouldering the load in St. Anthony’s running game. The two-way standout is likely to create problems for a St. Monica defensive line that has been snake bitten by injuries.
Defensive lineman Jack Porter and Kyle Schwan have been banged up of late, but a move to linebacker has made Schwan a bit more of a threat, Muno said last week.
If St. Monica is at full-strength, Walsh thinks his team will have to tighten up.
“We have to limit mistakes,” he said. “The team that tackles better is going to have an advantage.”