The 2012 season for San Pedro High football saw history being made in the regular season's final game, as head coach Mike Walsh would garner his 200th career victory in 22 years of coaching when the Pirates defeated Washington Prep of Los Angeles, 45-7 at San Pedro High.
Another historic moment occurred in the Pirates' 51-7 nonleague win at Westchester when the now graduated Darrell 'Deejay' Santiago broke the school record for career touchdowns, finishing with 40 for his career.
For that season alone, the Pirates went 8-4 overall while placing third in the Marine League behind two-time defending CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division I champion Narbonne of Harbor City and runner-up Carson, also defeating Harbor Area neighbor Banning of Wilmington for the fifth consecutive season, and 10th time in the last 11 meetings. A heartbreaking last-minute loss to Venice in the quarterfinals ended the season, but it didn't diminish their pride.
A young, yet dangerous team will be more than hungry to make the 2013 season one to remember for San Pedro.
Now entering his 23rd year, Walsh inherits a team that returns five All-Marine League standouts, one of which is an All-City Section returnee in senior RB/LB Pete Palacios.
Two of the things the Pirates can look forward to this season is that the defense will be a strong point with several talented returning players that includes the likes of Palacios, senior defensive lineman Manoah Tuiasosopo, and senior WR/DB Cean Tukes Jr.
Palacios played everywhere on both sides for San Pedro last season. He ran for only 61 yards on eight carries with a touchdown, while also catching 10 passes for 178 yards and another touchdown. Defensively, Palacios was second on the team with 62 tackles (36 solo), while leading the team with three interceptions and added three pass break-ups.
Tuiasosopo had 14 tackles and two sacks last season, but expect those numbers to rise. Tukes had 21 tackles, 3 interceptions and led the team last season with 10 pass break-ups for the Pirates, and there's a strong chance he will play both ways in 2013.
The other returning All-Marine League players from last season are junior offensive lineman Dominic O'Brien (honorable mention) and senior linebacker Rudy Alvidrez (second team).
Although the offense will be young, don't expect them to not produce. The quarterback position will be handled by sophomore Jacob Miller, with senior QB/LB Michael Hannifin (55 tackles, INT last season) also looking to see time at that position. Miller will likely be the starter after throwing 5 touchdowns last season on the junior varsity level.
Losing Santiago will hurt somewhat at the running back position, but junior RB Chris Alvidrez (27 carries, 253 yards, 3 TDs) is more than capable of carrying the load. Also Palacios and senior RBs Dupree Rose and Victor Viscarra will also look to get their fair share of carries. The receiving position will also feature Palacios, Tukes, junior WR Anton Srsen and senior WR Albert Martinez. O'Brien, along with seniors Daniel Ramirez and Alfonzo Aguilara, junior Tyler Castaneda will pace an experienced offensive line.
Defensively, the line will be anchored by Tuiasosopo, but keep a strong eye on junior DTs Mike Spinosa and Jaylyn Hawkins. Palacios and Rudy Alvidrez (team-leading 68 tackles last season) leads an experienced linebacker group that will also feature Hannifin, while Tukes is the lone returning starter in the secondary which will also have Martinez, junior DB Anthony Bolden and sophomore DB Vincent Wood in the mix.
Wood (nine tackles last season) was the first player to be moved up to varsity as a freshman after just two games into the 2012 season, and Miller followed him by being the second freshman to be moved up to varsity by the ninth game of the year.
The starting spots at kicker and punter both left by the graduated Christian Gonzalez, the school's all-time career leader for field goals and point-after-touchdown kicks made, are both up for grabs.
The schedule will be a challenge for this year's team, as for the first time in Walsh's regime, they're playing more games away from home than usual with six road games, with the first one being the season opener on August 30 against Morro Bay, a CIF-Southern Section Western Division quarterfinalist the most challenging. Other road games at Redondo Union (September 27) and the Marine League opener at Carson on October 11 will also be tough.
One home game on October 18 against rival Narbonne will be another true test for the Pirates.
As San Pedro approaches its 106th season of prep football with an overall record of 519-374-38 under 21 different coaches, they will do all they can to the best of their abilities to make 2013 one they'll never forget.