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Metro-South Bay League Preview: Mar Vista sets sail on 'stellar year' Phillip Brents | Fri, Sep 02 2011 12:35 AM

The Mar Vista Mariners had the proverbial season to remember in 2010: a 7-3 regular season record and Metro-South Bay League championship title.

The Mariners’ blockbuster season was tempered somewhat by a disappointing 21-7 loss to visiting Point Loma in the opening round of the San Diego Section Division III playoffs. But head coach Brian Hay expects his team to rebound with equal, if not more, acclaim this year.

“We should finish league very strong with most of the offense returning that led the county in rushing last year,” Hay said, adding, “We should have a stellar year.”

Mar Vista will be running behind one of the biggest offensive lines in the section, no question. Keying that front line are center Adrian Guerrero (6-2, 350), left guard Victor Vallaverde (6-2, 290), right guard Emerson Gomez (6-3, 280) and offensive tackles Sean Sullivan (6-5, 270) and Justin Ward (6-6, 310).

Once they get going, running back Kenny Nieves (6-2, 220) and tight end Brandon Luc (5-10, 190) both should challenge defenders in attempts to take them down.
The MVHS defense is bolstered by defensive linemen Lasean Riggens (6-0, 200) and Johnny Hays (5-10. 200) and linebacker Junior Rodriguez (5-10, 170).

The Mariners finished 3-0 in league play last season, defeating San Ysidro (47-14), Hilltop (40-27) and Southwest (56-0) by sizable margins.

Mar Vista averaged a staggering 387.1 rushing yards per game last season. The Mariners’ passing game was minimal, averaging just 38.5 yards per game. Combined, Mar Vista averaged 28.5 points on offense per game.

Lost to graduation, however, were Rommel Cooper (1,667 rushing yards, 19 touchdowns), Justin Peoples (1,089 rushing yards, seven TDs) and Ruben Gonzales (778 rushing yards, eight TDs). The trio rushed for more than 3,500 yards and scored 34 touchdowns. Cooper was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year.

That’s a hefty load to replace.

But a strong offensive line and confidence throughout the program should establish a strong foundation on which Hay’s new-look team can build.

The Mariners will look to “toughen up” against a challenging schedule of early season opponents.

Mar Vista kicks off the 2011 season with a non-league home game Sept. 2 against defending Grossmont Valley League co-champion El Capitan, then hosts Division V runner-up Francis Parker on Sept. 16 before traveling to Monte Vista on Sept. 23.

The Mariners test Grossmont on Sept. 30, travel to Patrick Henry on Oct. 7 and play at Montgomery on Oct. 14. Mar Vista hosts former South Bay League rival Castle Park on Oct. 21, then heads into league play with an Oct. 28 game at San Ysidro.

The Mariners host Hilltop on Nov. 4 and close out the season with a road match-up against Southwest on Nov. 10 in the teams’ annual Battle for the Bell rivalry game.

Mar Vista Mariners 2011 Schedule

2: El Capitan at Mar Vista
9: Bye
16: Francis Parker at Mar Vista
23: Mar Vista at Monte Vista
30: Grossmont at Mar Vista
7: Mar Vista at Patrick Henry
14: Mar Vista at Montgomery
21: Castle Park at Mar Vista
28: Mar Vista at San Ysidro
4: Hilltop at Mar Vista
10: Mar Vista at Southwest

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