St. Anthony’s football team competes in the Del Rey League, made up of teams ranging from the South Bay to the Los Angeles valley. But the Saints have always tried to maintain a local flavor under head coach Mario Morales, and will once again play a Long Beach-centric schedule, with games against Wilson and Millikan. The Saints originally had a game on the schedule with Lakewood in the Fall, but will scrimmage with the Lancers for the modified schedule instead.
“We like those Long Beach games, it’s just fun to play those guys,” said Morales.
The Saints will open with nearby Warren, then face off with the Rams.
“I believe Romeo (Pellum) is going to have a big year over there,” said Morales. “They have a lot of kids returning and I think as a coach your second year is really a great indicator of how you blossom as a program.”
After that the Saints will face off with Wilson, a school Morales has a ton of history with–he coached the Bruins for a successful stint, and current Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen was his defensive coordinator there.
“Ziggy has done a good job of competing at a high level, they’re one of the top teams in this area next to Poly,” said Morales. “Last year they’re one kick away from the semis, they won ten games, and they’re going to be a very good test for us–they’re a perennial playoff team.”
The Saints’ other nonleague games include a matchup with St. Pius X in Downey, Western, and El Rancho.
After that St. Anthony gets into league play, where they’ll face La Salle, Mary Star, Salesian, and Harvard-Westlake.
Salesian is likely to be on the come-up with Long Beach native Anthony Atkins taking over as head coach, but the Wolverines are likely to be the team everyone is chasing.
“There’s no easy week for us, we’re talking ten straight weeks of competing and good games,” said Morales.
The numbers are up in St. Anthony’s program, which Morales said he thinks has to do in part with the Spring sports season ending early.
“Some kids were still hungry to play something so they attached themselves to football,” he said.
The Saints’ practice are Tuesday and Thursday and attendance has been close to 100%. Like the LBUSD high schools, the Saints are constrained in what they can do at practice by the Long Beach Health Department’s guidelines, but Morales said his players have been resilient about the alteration to their playing careers and lives.
“Their attitude is great, no complaining, they get that it is what it is,” he said. “We start real practice December 14 like everyone else so we’re just making sure we can focus on getting better each day to be ready to do some big things.”
St. Anthony Football 2020-21 Schedule*
1/8 @ Warren
1/15 vs. Millikan
1/22 @ Wilson
1/29 vs. St. Pius X/St. Matthias
2/5 vs. Western
2/12 @ La Salle
2/19 vs. Mary Star
2/26 Salesian (Homecoming)
3/5 vs. El Rancho
3/12 @ Harvard-Westlake
*Home games at Clark Field