The Serra High School football team has had two consecutive subpar seasons by its standards, finishing fourth in the West Catholic Athletic League last season, and looks to make a larger impact going forward.
“We have an elevated expectation level from the kids,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. “With this group, we’re just focused on 2011.”
The Padres were eliminated in the first round of the Central Coast Section Open Division playoffs by WCAL rival Valley Christian, and Walsh said his team had its chances.
“We didn’t get it done,” Walsh said. “When we were in a position to make tackles, we didn’t.”
Serra has come back this season with a stronger focus, with much of last year’s team returning, and looks to win a league and section title.
“We need to get back to that level,” Walsh said.
In his 10th year at the helm, Walsh said the way for his team to get back to its championship form is through their “blue-collar mentality.”
“To be a football player, you have to commit,” Walsh said. “The teams that enjoy the grind are usually the teams that come out on top.”
His team responded by spending a lot of time in the weight room, working on its strength, speed and agility, Walsh said.
Serra last claimed a share of the WCAL title in 2008 and has made the CCS playoffs eight of the past nine seasons.
The Padres have not won a CCS championship since 1990.
Among the returners is University of Colorado-bound two-way star Erich Wilson.
Wilson averaged 7.9 yards per carry and scored 11 touchdowns in 2010.
The Padres will also be returning Eric Redwood to help Wilson carry the load in the backfield.
Senior Joey Erdie will be switching over from defensive back to be the starting quarterback after the departure of Andrew McAindon.
Two-way senior lineman Luke Longinotti will also be returning to help anchor the lines for the Padres.
Seven members of the junior varsity team will move up to varsity and Walsh expects five to make a serious impact.
One of these will be junior linebacker Peter Tuipulotu, who was moved up from the junior varsity team halfway through last season.
Date Opponent Time
Saturday vs. Wilcox 1 p.m.
Sept. 10 vs. Monte Vista 1 p.m.
Sept. 16 at Encinal 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 at St. Francis 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 at St. Ignatius 1 p.m.
Oct. 14 vs. Mitty 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 at Riordan 1 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Bellarmine 7 p.m.
Nov. 5 vs. Sacred Heart 2 p.m.
Nov. 12 vs. Valley Christian 1 p.m.