There's a new addition to the Taper Avenue campus of Mary Star Of The Sea High School. Lo and behold, there's a football scoreboard across the way of the basketball/volleyball gymnasium. Yes indeed, plans are in place for an on-campus football field that will make its rounds but until then, the 2019 Stars football team will be still be hosting games at the venerable Daniels Field that has housed so many memories, and of course... the oh so famous tri-tip and swordfish sandwiches.
This will be Year No.5 of the Jason Gelber era as head coach, and so far, the Stars have trended upward all four years with a record of 25-17 and two CIF-Southern Section playoff appearances, including last year's appearance in Division 13 with a 7-4 overall record and near-miss of a Camino Real League championship.
Now there is once again literally no margin for error in an even more improved four-school league, and no one knows that better than Mary Star.
Defending league champion Bishop Montgomery of Torrance is tabbed as the early favorite and has plenty returning. St. Monica of Santa Monica will be bolstered by the addition of 15 transfers, while Cantwell Sacred Heart of Montebello has doubled their roster size and will also be improved. The good news for the Stars is that the first two of those three league encounters will be at Daniels Field, and their shortest road trip is the November 1 finale at Bishop Montgomery.
Mary Star nearly won the Camino Real League title with a 2-1 mark, only losing 24-17 to Bishop Montgomery in a game the Stars led 17-6 in the second half.
Senior OL/DL Jesse Tello returns after making a big impact in just six games played following his transfer sit-out period from San Pedro. In that short time of action, Tello’s imposing presence on the line impressed the other league coaches enough to choose the All-CIF Division 13 selection as the 2018 CRL Lineman Of The Year.
Tello won't be the only imposing force on the offensive line, as he will also be out there with fellow seniors Chris Amalfitano and Matthew Lane,
The Stars rely on a lot of two-sport standouts to keep on shining.
Senior Marco Ibarra, a two-time all-league pitcher in baseball, is projected to be the new starting quarterback. Ibarra also excels at wide receiver (13 receptions, 108 yards, 4 TD) and linebacker (60 tackles, 3 INT). Senior WR/DB Aaron Martinez (11 rec., 212 yards, 2 TD; 34 tackles, 3 INT, punt return TD) is a two-time all-league basketball guard.
Another player looking to impress once again is senior WR/DB Isaac Colloca, who had a spectacular 2018 as he caught 15 passes for 325 yards, a whopping 29.5 yards per catch, and six touchdowns.
Senior running back Giovanni Rizzo will now be the featured back at Mary Star, as he ran for 325 yards and six touchdowns on 52 carries. Also being counted on in the Stars' run game is senior RB/LB Jordan Fajardo, but the majority of his work will be on the defensive side, as he posted 66 tackles (30 solo, 10 for loss) with four sacks. In a 23-19 win at South Torrance, Fajardo was in the Spartans' backfield for most of it with three sacks and five tackles for loss. Junior Adam Turbide also has great instincts at linebacker, as he registered 90 tackles last season.
Believe it or not, the most notable change in Mary Star’s 2019 roster will be at kicker at both levels… on the varsity side, Jackson Dileva comes over from the Camino Real League champion boys soccer team will bring a solid, strong leg, filling the role vacated by graduated All-CIF Division 13 selection Noah Guastella.
Meanwhile on the junior varsity... All-Camino Real League girls soccer standout, sophomore Maddie Purves makes history by being the first female high school placekicker in the history of Mary Star, and believed to be the first for ANY San Pedro, California based high school as well.
The nonleague schedule is barely changed, only one new addition, and that's the 2019 season opener against Gladstone at Citrus College this Friday, August 23. The Stars will host Whittier Christian (August 30), South Torrance (September 20) and Village Christian (September 27) while also traveling to Fairmont Prep of Anaheim (September 7), Century of Santa Ana (September 13) and Verbum Dei of Los Angeles (October 11) in early October.