PASADENA — A battle between vanilla and the works will be on display on Saturday when St. Monica football travels to face Blair High School. St. Monica (2-2) is a team that likes to throw all kinds of looks at opposing defenses. They have a quarterback who is as likely to run as he is to pass and a head coach that takes pleasure in dreaming up exotic formations.

Blair (2-1) is more of a “three yards in a cloud of dust” team, as Head Coach Gary Parks put it.

On Saturday at John Muir High School in Pasadena, we’ll see which style wins out.

St. Monica is coming off a defeat at the hands of Brentwood last week. The Mariners’ six turnovers ultimately sent St. Monica searching for ways to cut that number down.

Larry Muno, St. Monica’s second-year head coach, said that he worked with his team on ball security this week in practice in preparation for this week’s non-league matchup.

“We can’t turn the ball over,” Muno said. “That’s the bottom line. We have to be willing to punt the ball and play defense.”

As for letting last week’s loss to Brentwood get them down, Muno said: “We kind of bury those things. Last week was last week.”

That said, he expects quarterback Matthew Partyka to move past his five interception performance last week.

Despite his performance, Blair’s Parks said that his primary concern in facing the Mariners is the play of Partyka and his receivers, which have been boosted by the return of Kyle Farber, who missed last week’s game with a slight knee injury.

Parks has been impressed by the Mariners’ ability to mix it up on offense. Blair will look to a veteran linebacker corps to be the strength of a defense Parks considers inexperienced. Anthony Robles and Olufemi Aaron are the two lone seniors on defense, but Parks likes the physicality they bring to the position.

“To be successful we must contain that quarterback,” Parks said of Partyka. “We have to make him one dimensional: either stick to the run or the pass. We can’t have him do both.”

Muno said this week’s most pressing challenge is to contain Blair’s simple, yet effective running game. Led by Jamal Weaver, a senior, Parks said Blair’s running attack would consist of simple plays designed to pick up modest gains.

“We’re vanilla, we don’t do a bunch of formations,” Parks said. “We try to manage games.”

daniela@www.smdp.com

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