No one truly anticipated the 2018 San Pedro High football going the way it did.

Typically, San Pedro would start off strong in their first five games of 2018, and then the Pirates hit a tailspin of losing their next four before finally closing the regular season strong with a victory over Gardena… their only Marine League victory.

Still, battling the likes of two eventual CIF championship teams: Narbonne (Los Angeles City Section Open Division) & Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth (Southern Section Division 3), not to mention two more Marine League battles with Carson & Banning of Wilmington, who accounted for all four of those streaking defeats, only fueled the fire of San Pedro.

Once the CIF-LACS Division 1 playoffs started, San Pedro got their favorite draw, the No.6 seed, which propelled the 1997 team to the Pirates’ fourth CIF title of the decade, and the 2006 team to a CIF-LACS Division 1 runner-up finish.

The Pirates would go all the way to capturing the program’s sixth CIF-LACS crown with a stirring 22-20 victory over Dorsey at El Camino College in the Division 1 championship game on Thanksgiving weekend.

Now that the 2019 season is drawing near, San Pedro will carry that experience over in the hopes of either defending the Division 1 crown, or challenge for the Open Division title if the Pirates are in the top eight by the end of the regular season via the Cal Preps computer poll.

Senior RB/LB Joshua Ward returns for the Pirates, and that’s always a great sign when the reigning CIF-LACS Division 1 Player Of The Year is still on the roster.

Ward had a phenomenal run during the season, as he rushed for 1,361 yards and 18 touchdowns on 208 carries for San Pedro, also scoring four more touchdowns on three receptions and a kickoff return. Defensively, Ward was equally impressive with 70 tackles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

Ward is one of seven returning All-City Division 1 selections on San Pedro’s 2019 edition.

Senior linebacker Miguel Lopez-Rosales, like Ward, is drawing college interest. Last year, Lopez-Rosales led San Pedro with 121 tackles, while also forcing three fumbles, recovering one. Junior defensive back Richie Sanchez came out of nowhere for the Pirates in 2018, posting 81 tackles, and leading the secondary with five interceptions, including a clutch ‘Pick 6’ in San Pedro’s 44-14 semifinal victory over South Gate.

Andres Srsen, a senior WR/LB, is the most steady two-way player for San Pedro, as he caught 15 passes for 180 yards on offense, while registering 83 tackles, three pass deflections and a fumble recovery on defense. Srsen is the top returning receiver on a program notoriously known for its run game, but fellow returning senior Jerad Braff has big play capability, catching 12 passes for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns, also intercepting two passes on defense.

The one player who made the biggest impact in the 2018 CIF-LACS Division 1 final for San Pedro… is returning junior WR/DB Joshua Johnson, as his second interception of the year was a 27-yard return for a touchdown which put the Pirates ahead for good midway through the second quarter.

Johnson caught 13 passes for 191 yards offensively, while piling up 56 tackles defensively.

Finally, there’s junior defensive end Isaiah Howard, another All-City selection who impressed his sophomore campaign with 104 tackles, three fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a team-high 11 sacks.

Stepping into the role as full-time starting quarterback for San Pedro is a talented two-sport athlete in junior Dylan Kordic.

As the back-up to the departed All-City two-year starter Justin Bernal, Kordic, who helped San Pedro’s baseball team win 27 games and a Marine League title as the starting third baseman, threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns on 32-of-69 passes (46.4% completion rate). Kordic will be working on a young, but determined offensive line that features talented junior All-Marine League honorable mention selection Kyle Keller, senior two-way All-Marine League second team lineman Matthew Rodriguez and senior TE/DL Ale Mares.

Alexander Prado, a returning senior, will be the Pirates’ other main threat at running back.

Corey Miller (23-15) enters his fourth year as the Pirates’ head coach after guiding the Pirates to their sixth CIF-LACS title, earning him his first CIF-LACS Division 1 Coach Of The Year honor.

Notable games on schedule for the Pirates includes their home opener on Thursday, August 29 against Eagle Rock, a CIF-LACS Open Division semifinalist a year ago, and an October 18 road game at Sierra Canyon. In Marine League play the Pirates will host Narbonne (October 4) & Gardena (October 25), while taking their two shortest trips of the year to Banning (October 11) & Carson (November 1). The Pirates also will face North Torrance, Bell, Taft of Woodland Hills and Cleveland of Reseda in their nonleague slate of gridiron battles for 2019.

Going into their 111th season of prep football (including rugby), San Pedro has posted a record of 569-399-38 overall under 22 different coaches.

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