Center junior quarterback Matthew Partyka of the St. Monica's Boys Varsity football team scrambles down the football field while being chased by denensive players the Animo Leadership boys Varsity football team after Partyka could not find an open receiver at Saint Bernard's High school which is one of the home fields for St. Monicas on Saturday September 19th as Monica's hosted Animo in a non league game and won 31-0 to improve their record to 1-1. This win was the first home victory for St. Monicas since 2004. (photo by Morgan Genser)

ST. MONICA — The beginning of football season is months away, but the Mariners already have football on the mind.

St. Monica, a team that improved last season to 3-6 overall following a couple of years of hard times, advances to the beginning of the season with at least one side of the ball in order. Senior quarterback Matthew Partyka is set behind center and his most explosive offensive weapon, Sam Holguin, appears to be healed from an injury that dramatically limited him last season.

“Were having a good year so far,” St. Monica Head Coach Larry Muno said. “Just working.”

Muno said that Partyka has looked strong all off-season, which bodes well for a team that hopes to build on its win total from last season.

To that end, Muno said that he is working with the senior who passed for 2,372 yards last season. The one thing that Muno said must be improved is Partyka’s touchdown-to-interception ratio. As a junior, Partyka tossed 20 TDs, but also threw 19 INTs. Muno said that ratio should be improved to at least 2-to-1 if the team is to have a successful passing game.

Last season saw the Mariners as an offensive force, but risky passing and an overmatched defense struggled to keep the team in games late.

“We’re focused on being good as a team,” Muno said. “The offense is there, but we are much more of a total team this year.”

He said that a strong off-season strength and conditioning program has helped the Mariners prepare for a campaign the coach hopes ends with more victories than losses.

Unfortunately for St. Monica, many of next season’s games will be played away from Santa Monica. After hosting three home games at Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field last season, the Mariners were a bit disappointed that they would host just one game at SMC this season. The Mariners will host Bell-Jeff on Oct. 30 at SMC.

“It just didn’t work out,” Muno sad.

The rest of the team’s home games will be played at St. Bernard High School, located in Playa del Rey.

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