Mar Vista completed a dream season in 2011 even though it fell short of reaching prep football’s promised land in San Diego County: a berth in the Division III finals at Qualcomm Stadium.
Mar Vista and Olympian met in the semifinals to determine which team would play behemoth Cathedral Catholic for the division title. Olympian ended Mar Vista’s season with a crushing 40-8 defeat but Mariners coach Brian Hay had to be proud of his squad’s otherwise exemplary 11-2 final record.
As players wiped away tears Hay declared his team would start working hard for next season.
That season has arrived and the Mariners expect to be a power in Division IV after dropping an enrollment level for post-season play. Mar Vista will return as the two-time defending Metro-South Bay League champion and will look to add to its treasure chest.
Hay feels the strength of this year’s team will be experience on defense; its weakness will be due to low roster numbers.
There’s no doubting Mar Vista has more than made the most of what it has over the last two seasons after switching to its bull-dozing run-oriented attack.
The Mariners return six offensive starters and eight defensive starters. Top returners include defensive end Kenny Nieves, linebacker Keevin Moore and running back Jimmie Hill.
Hill rushed for 1,602 yards and eight touchdowns while Moore tacked on 1,132 rushing yards and seven TDs. Nieves rushed for 557 yards and four scores.
As a team, the Mariners averaged a staggering 389 rushing yards per game in their ball control-oriented offensive scheme.
The team’s defining game was a 42-28 quarterfinal-round playoff victory against St. Augustine.
Will lightning strike twice? Hay hopes so.
Mar Vista Mariners 2012 Schedule
1: Mar Vista at Point Loma, 3 p.m.
7: Serra at Mar Vista, 7 p.m.
14: Otay Ranch at Mar Vista, 7 p.m.
21: Mar Vista at Grossmont, 7 p.m.
28: Mar Vista at Santana, 7 p.m.
5: Montgomery at Mar Vista, 7 p.m.
12: Castle Park at Mar Vista, 7 p.m.
19: San Ysidro at Mar Vista, 7 p.m.
26: Mar Vista at Hilltop, 7 p.m.
2: Southwest at Mar Vista