The Venice High School football team may have come up short in its quest for its first Los Angeles City Section Championship, but coach Angelo Gasca said that doesn’t take away from the solid performance of his players this season.
The Gondoliers (9-3) shared the Western League championship with Fairfax High School this season, giving Venice its fourth consecutive league title.
“It was a good season and we accomplished some things that we feel pretty good about,” Gasca said.
After defeating Jordan High School 37-34 in the first round of the City Section playoffs, seventh-seeded Venice faced second-seeded Crenshaw High (9-3) in the playoff quarterfinals Wednesday, November 23rd.
But like last season, Venice’s hopes of capturing the city championship were shattered at the hands of host Crenshaw after a 48-3 loss.
“They kind of ran away with it,” Gasca said of Crenshaw. “They controlled us and wore us down up front.”
Crenshaw will next host third-seeded Dorsey High School in the city playoff semifinals Friday, December 2nd.
Gasca said the Gondos “played tough” in the first half against Crenshaw and trailed 13-0 at halftime.
Venice senior kicker Juan Siquenza gave the Gondos their first score after a 35-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 13-3 with 8:07 remaining in the third quarter.
But Gasca said the “very physical” Crenshaw team then took control and was able to “put us away.”
While Venice received offensive strength from senior running back Kenny Ashley and sophomore quarterback Richard Ragland throughout the season, the team struggled to get its offense going against Crenshaw.
“We were able to move the ball at times but they shut us down on critical third-down conversions,” Gasca said.
Although Venice lost its first league game in four years to Fairfax this season, the Gondos still captured the co-league throne to remain the premiere team in the league.
The team had its share of impressive performances from top senior players, including Ashley and free safety Jonas Mouton, who were named the Western League Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year respectively.
But some younger players, such as Ragland, also stepped up to make big contributions, and Gasca said that is something the team hopes to build on for the future.
“I’m proud of these guys and I’m real happy about the way they played throughout the year,” Gasca said. “They played up to their capabilities.
“I feel good about the progress of the program.”