#11 Senior WR, DB Sam Hoguin (C)

LOS ANGELES — St. Monica has already topped last years win total, but the Mariners want more.

As the Mariners prepare to open the Santa Fe League season, Head Coach Larry Muno said he doesn’t want to just be improved, he wants St. Monica (4-2) to be better.

On Friday against Salesian, the second-year coach will see where his rebuilding project really is.

Salesian (5-2 overall, 1-0 in league), led by touted defensive end prospect Davon Moreland, presents the greatest challenge of the season to date.

“They are talented like you wouldn’t believe,” Muno said of Salesian. “They are like a Division 1 school playing in our division.”

He cites Moreland as the primary threat, but also noted that quarterback Jihad Vercher is no slouch passing the ball. The sophomore has thrown for 1,266 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Muno said that he would like to see his defense put pressure on the young quarterback, disrupting an offense that has scored 176 points this season.

For Salesian Head Coach Roddy Hiatt, he too sees the opposing passing attack as his primary concern. With senior Matthew Partyka at the helm of St. Monica’s offense, Hiatt said he will lean on Moreland’s ability to rush the passer to slow them down. He also said that wide receiver Sam Holguin poses a unique threat to his defense, with his combination of size and speed.

To combat the duo of Partyka and Holguin, Hiatt said he would like to see his defensive backs play close to the line in an attempt to force St. Monica’s receiving corps into running sloppy routes. He also wants to see his team approach the game with vigor.

“We have to put a helmet on a helmet and just stay with our regular schemes,” Hiatt said.

The game takes place on Friday at Salesian. The game begins at 7 p.m.

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